Field hockey splits home opener

Rachel Jones

The Kent State field hockey team defeated Iowa 3-1 yesterday, but fell to No. 19 Stanford 3-1 Friday at Murphy-Mellis Field.

Kent State coach Kathleen Wiler said the team had the opportunities to gain on Stanford (3-2) but did not follow through.

“We didn’t have it (Friday),” she said. “We had some beautiful plays, but we just have to put them in the net.”

Senior Nicole Leach said it was disappointing to lose the home opener.

“We just fell flat,” she said. “The fire and passion weren’t there.”

Freshman Rebecca Lee scored the lone goal for the Flashes at 62:09.

Despite the loss, Kent State (3-3) still outcornered the Cardinal, which is key in field hockey, 5-1.

The luck with penalty corners continued Sunday.

Junior forward Debbie Bell scored the first goal against Iowa (1-5) off a penalty corner just 2:53 into the game.

“I said go for the straight and hammer it, and she did,” Wiler said. “We need to execute corners like foul shots, and scoring in the first three minutes is really good momentum-wise.”

The players mixed that momentum with determination from Friday’s loss to earn the home victory.

Leach said she and her teammates thought about the mistakes they made against Stanford to prepare to face the Hawkeyes.

“We just needed to do more (against Stanford),” she said. “We weren’t diving and competing for every ball. We didn’t bring it.”

Leach and her teammates played a much different game yesterday.

After assisting Bell in the first goal, Leach got the ball on a cross from Lee at 21:26. The senior tucked away the game’s second goal on the left side.

“This was actually my first game going from midfield to forward,” Leach said. “Maybe this is the right position for me.”

Bell made her second mark on the scoreboard at 45:05. Junior defender Stephanie Arbelaez passed to the forward, who carried the ball three yards from the goal before crushing it in.

Wiler said the team did well keeping possession and preventing turnovers in the second game.

“We played smart,” Wiler said. “We made simple passes, created opportunities and put them away.”

Leach said she was just happy to win at home.

“I feel like we should be winning since we’re at home,” she said. “It’s really great to have all of our fans and our families here.”

The team, who is home the rest of September, will try to keep the home victories coming. This is the third split weekend in a row for the Flashes this season.

“We need to work on consistency,” Wiler said. “We need to grow and mature, especially with our schedule. It’s not getting any easier.”

The Flashes face No. 6 Michigan State on Friday and No. 15 Boston University on Sunday at Murphy-Mellis Field.

But Leach said the feeling from Sunday’s victory was so incredible that the team “should be good for the next two weeks.”

The weekend

No. 19 Stanford 3, Kent State 1


17’ Byrne (unassisted) — Stanford

24’ Dru (Erickson, Gandhi) — Stanford

47’ Travlos (unassisted) — Stanford

63’ Lee (unassisted) — KSU

Kent State 3, Iowa 1


3’ Bell (Wimsatt, Leach) — KSU

22’ Leach (Lee) — KSU

46’ Bell (Arbelaez) — KSU

51’ Pierson (Pergine, Lesiak) — Iowa

Player of the weekend: Nicole Leach (1 goal, 1 assist)

Stat of the weekend: 5

Debbie Bell took five shots on goal Sunday, two of which went in. Kent State had 13 shots total to Iowa’s 10.

Contact sports reporter Rachel Jones at [email protected].