Field hockey heads to Virginia for two-game set to open season



Kent State senior Rebecca Lee (right) rushes towards the goal during an exhibition game against Robert Morrison August 23. Kent State edged Robert Morrison, 9-6. Photo by Melanie Nesteruk.

Chris Ginley

The Kent State field hockey team will head to James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va. this weekend as they kick off the 2013 regular season with matches against James Madison at 7 p.m. Friday and Appalachian State 11 at a.m Sunday.

The Flashes, who finished the 2012 season with a record of 9-13, will look to build on the success they gain in last week’s 9-6 exhibition win over Robert Morris (Pa.) and carry the momentum into their first game.

The first 12 matches of Kent State’s schedule are against non-conference opponents, and head coach Kathleen Wiler said these early games will help the team prepare for the later part of the schedule when the Flashes begin Mid-American Conference play.

Wiler noted how important it is for the players to prepare for each match, especially for the opening weekend.

“Going over game footage and meeting together before that match is a part of our routine to get ready for the match,” Wiler said.

The Flashes return their top six scorers including junior midfielder Julia Hofmann, who led the team with 16 goals last season. Hofmann said while leading by example is an important trait, she believes a big focus on the team element is a higher priority.

“I feel a sense of responsibility, but working together as a unit is more important,” Hofmann said.

Hofmann and the team begin their weekend road trip against the James Madison Dukes, a team they defeated last season by a score of 1-0.

Kent State will take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers Sunday for the first time in 15 years. The Mountaineers went 3-15 last season with a 1-6 record in road games.

The MAC Preseason Poll, released Wednesday, picked the Flashes to finish fourth in the conference at the end of the season. Junior goalkeeper Jahna Jones said she does not pay much attention to preseason predictions, instead trusting in the ability of her teammates.

“I think we are a contender, and I think that we have a strong team,” Jones said. “Our depth is good.”

Wiler echoed Jones’ sentiment and said preseason polls do not affect the way she sees her team or the way the Flashes prepare for games.

“I ignore those polls,” Wiler said. “I use them for motivation and bulletin board material.”

Contact Chris Ginley at [email protected].