Mountaineers fall short in MAC Championship

Graduate+student+midfielder+Friederike+Stegen+attacks+the+Miami+defense+Nov.+5%2C+2022.+

Courtesy of Andy McLean, App State Athletics

Graduate student midfielder Friederike Stegen attacks the Miami defense Nov. 5, 2022.

Chance Chamberlain

App State came up short in the Mid-American Conference Tournament after reaching the championship, losing 3-1 to Miami University. 

Heading into the tournament, App State carried a nine-game win streak, and several Mountaineers were awarded First and Second Team All-MAC. Graduate student midfielders Anna Smarrelli and Friederike Stegen were named First Team All-MAC, and senior forward Sarah Farrell, senior goalkeeper Addie Clark and senior midfielder Pauline Mangold were named Second Team All-MAC.

The Friday semifinal matchup against No. 2 Kent State resulted in a 1-0 win for the Mountaineers to extend their win streak to 10 and head to their first-ever MAC championship.

“I’m proud of our group,” said Meghan Dawson, App State head coach and MAC Coach of the Year. “We’ve never made a MAC final, so this is a big point for us.”

The game remained close as the only goal scored came at the 39:07 mark by sophomore forward Charlotte Bosma, who senior forward Carli Ciocco assisted to become the all-time leader in single-season assists at App State with 13.

With Bosma scoring the lone goal in the matchup, she summed up the game in one word: Relentless. 

“We’re not going to give up, and we’re hungry for more,” Bosma said.

The Mountaineers outshot the Golden Flashes six to three, with four shots on goal. The stellar play of the Mountaineer defense made it difficult for the Golden Flashes to find any opportunities within the shooting circle. Clark was there to make a diving save even when Kent State found a shot on goal.

The MAC Championship was a matchup between the Mountaineers and the No. 1 RedHawks of Miami. App State came in as an underdog, as Miami won the previous five conference championships. The two teams met earlier in the season, with the RedHawks taking the victory 3-2, but it would be the last loss the Mountaineers had suffered coming into the tournament. 

Before the game, Dawson shared her thoughts on the moment for her team.

“Our team is excited to be here at the championship game for the first time in program history,” Dawson said. “We’ve been working on this for years, and it’s a really big moment for our group.”

The 10-game win streak would end with Miami winning the MAC Championship by a score of 3-1. The defensive play of Miami proved to be too much as the Mountaineers couldn’t strike on their opportunities.

App State’s only goal came in the fourth quarter after the RedHawks had a three-goal lead. The goal was scored by senior forward Rachel Fleig at the 53:20 mark and assisted by Stegen, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year. 

The Mountaineers again outshot their opponent 13-10, but only three shots on goal compared to Miami’s six proved to be the difference. Along with outshooting the RedHawks, App State also had 11 penalty corners, with eight coming in the second quarter compared to Miami’s three penalty corners. 

The field hockey season ends as App State finishes with a 14-6 record and runner-up in the MAC Conference Tournament. Multiple Mountaineers were named on the All-Tournament Team; Stegen, Smarrelli and senior midfielder Allison Corey.