Field hockey shuts out No. 5 Michigan State

Rachel Jones

The Kent State field hockey team gave No. 5 Michigan State its first loss of the season with a 2-0 upset Friday during the Golden Flash Invitational.

This was the first back-to-back victory for the Flashes (4-4) this season.

“It’s nice to see us build on the performance from (last) Sunday’s game against Iowa,” Kent State coach Kathleen Wiler said. “We had nice structure, good possession and team plays.”

Junior defender Amy Wimsatt said the victory at Murphy-Mellis field was sweeter knowing they beat the previously undefeated Spartans (8-1).

“It was a big game, obviously, because we were home, but they were undefeated,” Wimsatt said. “It feels good to knock someone who is undefeated off.”

Wiler said Michigan State is an overall good team with a winning background.

“They made it to our ‘elite eight’ last year, and they have a storied program with a lot of history,” Wiler said. “They’re a quality opponent.”

The game marked Kent State’s second victory over a top ten team this season. On Sept. 4, the Flashes beat No. 8 Syracuse 2-1.

The Spartans played victim to the Flashes’ first shutout of the season.

“It was our first shutout, so it’s nice for the goalie and the defense’s confidence,” Wimsatt said.

Michigan State attempted 17 shots on goal, but senior goalie Caroline Suitch made nine saves.

The reigning Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week, Suitch is also ranked fifth in the NCAA with 3,211 career minutes played and 13th with an average of 1.70 goals against.

Wiler said the strong defensive plays actually came from every position.

“Defensively, our back four was strong,” Wiler said. “But our midfield did good clearing out, and our forwards played defensively, too.”

Freshman forward Rebecca Lee scored off an assist from senior forward Rachel Miller 13 minutes into the game. The goal was Lee’s second of the season.

“Everything was on,” Wimsatt said. “We had a game plan, and we stuck to it.”

Junior forward Debbie Bell picked up her fifth goal of the season after an assist from freshman defender Sabrina Binder four minutes into the second half.

Wiler said the players often tease each other that defense wins championships and offense wins games.

The Flashes used both components Friday with smooth passes and consistent teamwork across the field.

“We had a sense of connectedness,” Wimsatt said. “We really brought it together.”

Despite the strong victory Friday, the Flashes fell to No. 13 Boston 2-1 Saturday.

Bell set the pace, scoring off a penalty corner 12 minutes into the game.

“We’re getting the ball in the net off of penalty corners, which is good,” Wiler said.

The Flashes and Terriers (6-2) had eight penalty corners each during the game.

Wiler said the team needed to execute more and follow up on its scoring opportunities to earn that third consecutive victory.

“We were passing and attacking more on Friday,” Wiler said. “But we did produce more inside our 25-yard line (yesterday).”

The loss marked the sixth game against a ranked opponent for Kent State this season.

Wiler said the team will use the defeat as a last chance to grow and learn before it starts Mid-American Conference play Saturday against Ball State at 1 p.m.

“Ending our nonconference schedule 4-4 says we’re more than prepared for conference play next week.”

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].

Kent State 2, No. 5 Michigan State 0


13’ Lee (Miller) — KSU

39’ Bell (Binder) — KSU

No. 13 Boston 2, Kent State 1


12’ Bell (Miller) — KSU

15’ Zules (McLeod) — BU

48’ Greene (unassisted) — BU

Player of the weekend: Caroline Suitch

The senior goalie made nine saves in Kent State’s first shutout over No. 5 Michigan State and six against No. 13 Boston.

Stat of the weekend: 5

Undefeated Michigan State was ranked No. 5 before its 2-0 loss to the Flashes.