Field Hockey to begin MAC play Friday, face ranked opponent Sunday

Chris Ginley

After 11 matches against non-conference opponents, the Kent State field hockey team will take on its first Mid-American Conference opponent of the season, the Missouri State Bears, Friday afternoon at Murphy-Mellis field.

The team will wrap up its weekend play Sunday against No. 10 Northwestern.

Both teams come into Friday’s matchup struggling, as Kent State (4-7) has lost its last five matches by a combined score of 20-6, and Missouri State (2-7) has lost six of its last seven matches. The Bears’ only win during that stretch was a 5-0 shutout victory Tuesday against the St. Louis Billikens, a team the Flashes defeated 13-0 earlier this season.

The Flashes’ 1-0 overtime loss to Lock Haven last Sunday marked only the sixth time in program history that the Flashes have lost three straight one-goal matches. Kent State is the only team in the MAC with four double-digit point scorers.

Historically, Kent State leads the all-time series against Missouri State with a 21-4-1 record and has won 10 of the last 11 matches between the two teams. The Flashes will be looking to get their offense back on track, having scored six goals combined in their last five matches.

Play continues into Sunday when the Flashes host the Northwestern Wildcats in their third match this season against a nationally ranked opponent. Kent State fell to No. 8 Syracuse 6-2 on Sept. 8 before being shutout 6-0 on Sept. 22 by then-No. 10 Iowa.

Junior midfielder Julia Hofmann, the team’s leading point scorer, leads the offensive attack for the Flashes. Hofmann has scored 19 points this season, including seven goals and five assists, to lead the MAC in all three categories.

Seniors Rebecca Lee and Melanie Hahn and junior Hannah Faulkner also rank in the top 10 in points among players in the conferences.

A key for the Flashes’ defense will be to limit the number of shots on goal, as they are 0-6 this season in which they allow 10 or more shots on goal.

Friday’s game against Missouri State will begin at 1 p.m., while Sunday’s matchup with Northwestern is scheduled to begin at noon.

Contact Chris Ginley at [email protected]