Field hockey sweeps weekend behind Bell’s overtime winner

Rachel Jones

The Kent State field hockey team defeated Northwestern 2-1 yesterday thanks to junior Debbie Bell’s overtime goal.

“It was one of the most beautiful plays,” Bell said. “It was a great decision by (senior midfielder) Rachel Miller to pass it up to (freshman forward) Rebecca (Lee).”

Lee passed the ball off to Bell who then knocked the ball between the legs of the Northwestern goalie Amanda Wirth in the 11th minute of overtime.

“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Bell said.

The forward also put away the first goal for the Flashes during a penalty corner in the 22nd minute.

“We had a few opportunities in corners earlier,” Bell said. “To finally put away a strike was a real confidence booster.”

Northwestern responded when Maria Kovalchuk scored in the 56th minute, sending the game into overtime.

While the overtime victory was exciting for the players, the Flashes (7-5, 2-1 Mid-American Conference) thought they had won before Bell’s game-ending goal.

Senior forward Nicole Leach connected five minutes into overtime, but the goal was called back.

“It was really frustrating,” Bell said. “But it knocked us back into it, and we proved that nothing is going to stop us.”

Kent State coach Kathleen Wiler said it was a defining moment for the team.

“We all ran on the field and celebrated, so for it to be taken back was emotionally tough,” Wiler said. “Especially in overtime, when we were glad to be done and ready to get back on the bus and go home.”

But the Flashes fought back to earn their second victory on the road — the first non-split weekend for them this season.

“We’ve been trying to work on consistency,” Wiler said. “It’s great to have two hard-fought wins and come back to Kent State with two road wins.”

Before ending the Wildcats’ (8-4) six-game winning streak, Kent State shut out Central Michigan 2-0.

“Any MAC opponent is tough, and Central Michigan is a tough team already,” Wiler said. “But we fought until the end for that win.”


The weekend

Kent State 2, Central Michigan 0


48’ Miller (Bell) Kent State

68’ Johl (unassisted) Kent State

Kent State 2, Northwestern 1, overtime


22’ Bell (unassisted) Kent State

56’ Kovalchuk (Parsley) Northwestern

81’ Bell (Lee) Kent State

Player of the weekend: Debbie Bell

Bell scored three goals this weekend, including the game-winning overtime goal against Northwestern.

Stat of the weekend: 1

The number of times this season the team has not split a weekend.

The game was 0-0 in the first and the beginning of the second half.

“We outshot and outcornered them, so (to be tied) was frustrating,” Bell said. “They had a good goalie, but we had a good attack.”

Rachel Miller broke the silence in the 48th minute, scoring her fourth goal of the season off a penalty corner.

The attacks against Central Michigan (2-7, 0-1 MAC) continued when junior defender Carla Johl scored in the 68th minute, solidifying the win.

“Our defense played really well,” Bell said. “It was great to get a shutout.”

This is senior goalie Caroline Suitch’s second shutout of the season and tenth of her career.

The Central Michigan victory will boost the Flashes’ standing in the MAC, just as the Northwestern victory will raise its national ranking.

Wiler and Bell agreed that the Northwestern victory was a defining moment for the rest of the season.

“I hope everybody can just learn from and appreciate this,” Bell said. “We got two wins in a row, and we hope it can continue.”

Email sports reporter Rachel Jones at [email protected].