A breakdown of Kent State sports

Kent State sophomore Hannah Faulker hits the ball toward the Ball State goal on Oct. 13 at Murphy-Mellis Field in Kent. The Flashes won against The Cardinals 6-5. Photo by Brian Smith.


Former head coach Darrell Hazell led Kent State’s football team to an 11-3 overall record, including a perfect 8-0 record in the Mid-American Conference in 2012. The Flashes also participated in the GoDaddy.com Bowl — the first bowl game in team history — against the Arkansas State Red Wolves but fell short 17-13.

Defensive coordinator Brian George said the team wants to build on what was accomplished last season.

“One of the big areas we’ll hit is working to finish what we started,” George said. “The one thing we focused on during the off season and continued on campus during this season is that not only do we want to get in position playing in the championship game and playing in a bowl game, but also to win the championship game and win the bowl game.”

Last year’s stats:

• 11-3 overall

• .786 pct. (percentage)

• 8-0 conference

• 5-0 home

• 6-1 away

• 0-2 neutral

• MAC East Division champions


Kent State’s field hockey team consistently ranks among the best in the MAC. Seniors Alyssa McFerren, Melanie Kahn, Rebecca Lee and Sabrina Binder aim to lead a team along with juniors Julia Hofmann and Hannah Faulkner that fell to Miami in the MAC Championship Game. The Flashes return to the pitch loaded with talent and experience with the goal of winning a conference title.

Last year’s stats

• 9-13 overall

• 4-1 conference

• 6-4 home

• 3-9 away

• Regular season MAC champions


Kent State’s men’s basketball placed third in the MAC last season. They went 9-7 in the conference and 21-14 overall and fell to Akron in the MAC Tournament semifinals. Men’s basketball coach Rob Senderoff said he’s looking forward to see juniors K.K. Simmons and Derek Jackson — as well as freshmen Devin Carter and Marquiez Lawrence — play next season. He said the team is concentrating on improving its defensive game.

“For our league … it’s a really a toss-up going into the season,” Senderoff said. “It’s who’s playing the best basketball and which team plays the best together.”

Last year’s stats:

• 21-14 overall

• 9-7 conference

• 12-6 home

• 8-7 away

• 1-1 neutral


Kent State’s gymnastics squad, perennial conference and national contenders, returns after a successful 2012-13 campaign in which the team finished sixth at NCAA regionals and was ranked No. 23 in the nation at season’s end.

Senior Marie Case anchors a group that returns plenty of talent. Fellow senior Ashley Transue joins juniors Amiah Mims and Whitnee Johnson to form one of the conference’s best gymnastics teams.

Last year’s stats:

• Conference champions


First-year coach Danielle O’Banion struggled to help turn around a once-successful program after the departure of former head coach Bob Lindsay. In her first season, O’Banion won just three games. The women’s team lost many close games and showed future promise with young players but has plenty of work to do before it returns to MAC prominence.

Sophomore guard Rachel Mendelsohn leads a group looking for contributions from young players, as well as a trio of seniors.

Last year’s stats

• 3-27 overall

• 1-16 conference

• 2-12 home

• 1-15 away


The women’s soccer team remained among the best in the conference in 2012 but fell in the MAC Tournament semifinals to Miami by a score of 3-1. The Flashes will have to replace seniors Sara Henderson and Hannah Newhouse, who each earned MAC All-Tournament honors in 2012. Senior forward Jaclyn Dutton led the team in goals (15) and was second in assists (7). Junior forward Stephanie Haugh scored six goals in 2012.

Last year’s stats:

• 13-5-2 overall

• 7-3 conference

• 3-7 home

• 6-5 away


It was also a great year for both the men and women’s golf teams. The women’s golf team captured its 15th straight MAC Championship win and the men’s golf team captured its fifth. The men’s golf team placed 27th at the men’s NCAA MAC Golf Championship and junior Jennifer Ha placed 80th as an individual for the women’s, making her the second golfer in Kent State history to qualify.

Other women to look out for include senior Josée Doyon, junior Natalie Goodson and new transfer Taylor Kim, said assistant women’s golf coach Maddie Swaney. Women’s head golf coach Greg Robertson said their goal for the season is to make progress.

“The team made some big strides by the end of last year and we need to build on that and continue to improve,” Robertson said. “I want to see this group develop a champion’s mentality and play hard from the first tee shot of every tournament to the last putt.”

Last year’s men’s golf stats:

• MAC East Division champions

• Last year’s women’s golf stats

• MAC East Division champions


Recent graduate Dustin Kilgore was the highlight of Kent State’s wrestling team. Kilgore was a 2011 NCAA wrestling champion, a four-time qualifier, two-time MAC Wrestler of the Year and two-time All-American wrestler. He placed second in the 2012-13 NCAA Championships. Returning national qualifiers include senior Tyler Small (141 lbs.), juniors Caleb Marsh (165-174 lbs.), Sam Wheeler (184 lbs.), Cole Baxter (197 lbs.) and Ian Miller (157 lbs.).

Head wrestling coach Jim Andrassy said their goal is to be one of the top 10 teams in the country.

Last year’s stats:

• 10-6 overall

• 4-1 conference

• 5-1 home

• 5-5 away

• Graduate Dustin Kilgore – 2013 ASICS University Nationals


The volleyball team endured a difficult 2012-13 season, finishing with just six wins. The Flashes will have to replace departed senior Kathy Krupa, who was arguably the most impactful player on the team. Krupa recorded 161 kills and led the team with 91 blocks.

The Flashes return a talented group that includes Hannah Herc, Jenny Buczek and Tinuke Aderimi-Ibitola, whose devastating spike notched her an even 300 kills. Herc recorded 403 digs to lead the team in 2012-13.

Last year’s stats

• 6-22 overall

• 3-13 conference

• 3-8 home

• 1-10 away

• 2-4 neutral


Men’s cross-country graduate Michael Heller concluded his career by finishing 175th overall in the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Notable returning runners include seniors Steve Fischer and Andrew Goodwin for the men’s team. Returning runners for the women are senior Melinda Sawnor, junior Paige Foster and sophomores Hannah Fleck and Rachel Slingluff.


A year after the Kent State baseball team made school history with its first appearance in the College World Series, the Flashes suffered from a letdown season in 2013.

Kent State struggled from the outset of the season and finished with a 36-23 overall record, including a 20-7 mark in the MAC. The Flashes twice fell to Ball State in the MAC Tournament to bring their season to a close.

Head coach Scott Stricklin departed for the same job at Georgia, leaving the athletic department to hire former Purdue assistant Jeff Duncan as the Flashes’ new head coach. Duncan said the team’s expectations for this coming season are “very high” and hopes they’ll bring home a championship title.

“I’m just really excited to get there out with these kids and the coaching staff,” Duncan said.

Last year’s stats:

• 36-23 overall

• 20-7 conference

• 13-4 home

• 18-13 away

• 5-6 neutral

• MAC East Division champions


After sweeping Miami University in a doubleheader, Kent State’s softball team clinched the MAC East title. The team advanced to the MAC Tournament but was defeated 1-0 by Central Michigan and then eliminated from the tournament in a 5-4 loss to Ohio. Head coach Karen Linder said the team will be facing top-tier softball schools such as Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan early in the season.

“Our goal is to be able to elevate our level of play and be able to compete with those teams that play at the top tier in the country,” Linder said. “I want to get them to that level, and I think we can.”

Last year’s stats

• 27-21-1 overall

• 16-6 conference

• 12-7 home

• 15-14-1 away

• MAC East Division champions


Students should look forward to seeing sophomore Dior Delophont, said Bill Lawson, director of track and field. She earned five MAC championships and four All-Americans as a freshman. Other track and field standouts include senior Shanequa Williams, junior Matthias Tayala and sophomore Wayne Gordon.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected], and Cindy Deng at [email protected].