Flashes hope to improve record with tournament looming

Sophomore midfielder Rebecca Lee carries the ball downfield during Kents 3-1 loss against Missouri State. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Sophomore midfielder Rebecca Lee carries the ball downfield during Kent’s 3-1 loss against Missouri State. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Nick Shook

The Kent State field hockey team has experienced on-field difficulties as of late. After winning two straight Mid-American Conference games, Kent State fell to Ohio and Missouri State by a combined score of 5-1. Thankfully for the Flashes, two weekends still remain in the regular season before MAC Tournament action begins Nov. 3.

Kent State (5-10, 3-3 MAC) will need to improve its play in order to secure an advantageous seed in the conference tournament. The weekend’s road trip begins with a game at Ball State (3-12, 3-4 MAC) Saturday. The Flashes currently sit in third place in the MAC and are being closely followed by the Cardinals, who trail Kent State by a single conference loss. In order to keep its grasp on the third seed in the MAC Tournament, Kent State must not only defeat Ball State, but also earn a victory over Miami the following day.

“For us, this is a pretty crucial weekend,” senior Carla Johl said. “We’ve come with a whole new, fresh energy to take on this weekend. It’s going to be important for us to get back into a rhythm.”

The RedHawks (5-12, 3-4 MAC) defeated the Flashes 2-1 in the two teams’ first matchup earlier in the season. However, since its victory over Kent State, Miami has gone 1-4, including losses to Ball State and Central Michigan. The RedHawks’ lone victory during that stretch came against Missouri State, who defeated the Flashes Sunday.

Ball State has only two more conference games following its matchup with Kent State, and Miami has only one. In what arguably could be the most important part of the regular season, the Flashes must capitalize in the weeks heading into the MAC Tournament. Kent State’s approach to the weekend is simple, Johl said.

Kent State field hockey by the numbers

9: The number of penalty corners Kent State averages per game (best average in the MAC, tied for ninth in Division I).

15: Senior forward Debbie Bell’s goals in 2011 (ranks first in the MAC).

8: Sophomore midfielder Alyssa McFerren’s assists in 2011 (third in the MAC).

2.13: The Flashes rank 41st in the nation in goals scored per game.

48th: Kent State’s rank in saves per game (5.20).

.333: Kent State’s overall winning percentage (the Flashes have a .500 winning percentage in the MAC)

5.67: The Flashes’ points per game average (ranked 43rd in Division I).

3: Debbie Bell’s game-winning goals in 2011 (second in the MAC). Also, the number of Kent State’s defensive saves in 2011. The Flashes are tied with 13 other schools at 37th in the nation in this category.

1/2: Kent State’s lead over Miami and Ball State in the MAC standings heading into this weekend’s games.

“Play Kent State field hockey,” she said. “We’ve come a long way this season, and we’ve gotten to the point were we just want to prove exactly how we play … bring that passion and pride to how we play.”

Kent State’s two-game road swing begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ball State and finishes Sunday at Miami.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected] and @Shookie_Cookie.


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