Field hockey draws closer to tournament bye

Rachel Jones

The Kent State and Central Michigan field hockey teams lined up to start the second half yesterday, and Kent State coach Kathleen Wiler yelled some advice to senior Nicole Leach.

“Go get that ball, Leachy!” Wiler cried from the bench.

And she did.

The forward posted two goals and two assists against the Chippewas, leading the Flashes to an 8-1 victory. Coupled with Friday’s 4-1 win over Ohio, Kent State is now one win away from earning the No. 1 seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament.

“We had a successful weekend,” Leach said. “We needed that win over OU because they are closer to us in the rankings.”

After defeating Miami 3-2 on Oct. 16, the Flashes (12-6, 7-2 MAC) knew beating the Bobcats (10-9, 6-2 MAC) was crucial for their conference tournament seeding. The No. 1 team in the conference gets a by week in the first round of the tournament, which is vital for the team to prepare mentally and rest physically.

“There was a little more pressure, but there’s always pressure in big games,” junior back Amy Wimsatt said. “But I think it was more of a ‘focus pressure,’ so it helped.”

Junior forward Debbie Bell score two goals against the Bobcats, breaking the Kent State school record from 1998 for most career goals.

Bell started scoring on a penalty corner in the seventh minute. Ohio responded with a goal two minutes later, but it was their only mark on the scoreboard.

Although the tie stood for 15 minutes, Leach said, “I had no doubt in my mind that we would win.”

Senior midfielder Rachel Miller broke the tie, scoring on a penalty stroke in the 24th minute. Bell and Leach then posted one more goal each, solidifying the Kent State victory.

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].