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Field hockey looks to replace big shoes as it plays first home games

Sara House
Kent State women’s field hockey team gets ready for their game against Michigan state on Sept. 1, 2023.

Last season, Kent State’s Field Hockey team lost its opening round game in the Mid-American Conference tournament 1-0 to Appalachian State. 

This season, KSU was ranked number two for the MAC Preseason Coaches poll – the Mountaineers are ranked third.

Miami was selected first and to win the MAC Tournament. All-time, the Flashes are 11-13 against the RedHawks and have lost seven of the last nine matchups.

Kent State saw five players depart from last season’s team, including last season’s second leader scorer, MAC Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-MAC selection Maria Cambra Soler.  

The program will also look to replace Larissa Balachick and Danielle Hamm, who each finished the season with a team-high eight assists – third most in the conference. 

Junior Madison Leety guards the ball from Michigan State during a field hockey game on Sept. 1, 2023. (Sara House)

Through four games this season, the Flashes are 1-3 overall and have scored five goals, allowing eight. 

Last season, the team was 2-2 at this point but had only scored four goals, allowing 16 goals.

Kent State opened its home schedule by beating Michigan State (1-0) on Friday and losing to UC Davis (5-4) on Sunday afternoon in double overtime at Murphy-Mellis Field.


Both teams managed only one shot during the first quarter; KSU secured three corners, and MSU had zero.

In the second quarter of play, they held the Spartans without a shot while getting two of their own. 

Despite three more corner attempts, the score at halftime was 0-0. 

Goalies for both teams were active during the third quarter of play, as they each recorded two saves. 

The score going into the final quarter remained 0-0. 

In the 50th minute of the game, the Flashes found their momentum when freshman midfielder Eva Usoz scored the game-winning goal, making the score 1-0. 

This was Usoz’s first career goal. 

Kent State led in shots with eight, having four saves and penalty corners (10). MSU had five shots, three saves and just one penalty corner. 

Junior goalkeeper Cecile van Eijck collected a game-high four total saves.  


After coming off its first win of the season, KSU welcomed UC Davis, who went into the contest winless.

Within the first 10 minutes of game time, the Flashes saw themselves trailing 2-0; however, senior Alex Sacker converted on a penalty corner, making the score 2-1.

At the end of the first quarter, Kent State led in corners 4-0.

The Flashes scored three unanswered goals in the second quarter, two by Usoz and one by freshman Maybritt Duwel. 

“In the second quarter, we focused on not giving them opportunities to score,” coach Kyle DeSandes-Moyer said. 

KSU led at halftime 4-2 – its first halftime lead of the season.

DeSandes-Moyer was pleased to see the success from Usoz. 

 “She’s been great for our team, and it’s good to see her having success,” DeSandes-Moyer said.

Eight minutes into the third quarter, UC Davis was awarded a corner and capitalized, making the score 4-3.

During the third quarter, UC Davis outshot Kent State 9-3 and was awarded four corners – KSU had zero.

With four minutes remaining in regulation, the Aggies pulled their goalie to gain an advantage on the offensive side. 

The risk paid off and UC Davis tied the game 4-4, sending the game to overtime.

Both teams recorded one shot on goal during the first overtime as both goalies recorded a save. 

Two minutes into the second overtime, the Aggies set up their ninth corner of the game and converted, ending the game capturing their first win of the season.

Kent State totaled 25 shots and 17 on goal; UCD had 23 with 13 on goal.  

Kent State senior Sydney Washburn cuts off her Penn State opponent during the game on Oct. 16, 2022. (Matthew Brown)

On the road

The Flashes are back on the road as they take on Penn State Friday.

PSU has a 2-2 overall record and is coming off a win over Stanford. So far this season, Penn State has 11 goals as a team. Kent State has five. 

The Nittany Lions will be playing their first game at home. 

Game time is 6 p.m.

This will be the fifth time the two teams faceoff – KSU has lost all four previous meetings while being outscored 18-4.

Kyle Kuchta is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Kyle Kuchta, Reporter
Kyle is a senior majoring in journalism and communications. He is a second-semester sports writer for KentWired. Covering sports, whether it be writing or reporting, is one of Kyle's passions. He enjoys  being involved in sports from a journalist point of view. Contact him at [email protected]

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