Flashes ready for tournament showdown with the RedHawks

Cody Erbacher

Miami dealt Kent State one of two MAC losses

The Kent State field hockey team won the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship, but looks to move toward a tournament championship with a win against Miami today.

For the second straight season the Flashes (12-7, 8-2 MAC) enter the MAC Tournament with a MAC Regular Season championship. After splitting head-to-head matches, Kent State shares the title with Ohio.

The road to stand on top of the standings wasn’t an easy one.

The Flashes fought through a tough road schedule and a few key personnel losses to claim the title.

“(Injuries and fatigue) affected us a lot,” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said. “Early on we lost two from our core. A lot of things happened, but we’ve been really resilient, and I think we’re coming back at full throttle right now.”

Kent State holds the 2nd seed in the tournament behind Ohio because the Bobcats hold the seeding tiebreaker.

The Flashes gained a first-round bye because of their seed in the tournament. Thanks to the bye, Kent State will have an extra day of rest and practice leading into its first tournament game.

The Flashes need two straight wins to earn the MAC Champion title, and the team would like to win its second straight MAC Tournament.

“I think we definitely can be very successful,” sophomore forward Debbie Bell said. “Obviously that’s our goal, but as always we will just be working one game at a time.”

The Flashes lost only three seniors after last season’s championship, but Schanne said this year’s group is going to face its own challenges.

“Every team has its own personality, and this one is different,” Schanne said. “I look forward to watching them play in the semi-final on Friday, and hopefully we pick up where we left off last weekend.”

Last season, Kent State finished with a 9-1 conference record, and most of the team has tournament experience.

On the road to the MAC championship, the Flashes will first face the team that dealt them their last loss.

Kent State plays Miami (12-9, 7-3 MAC) today in the second round of the tournament.

Bell, who is tied for the lead in the nation for goals scored with 28, said that she is not worried about the previous loss. She said that some people may see the team as an underdog, but Kent State always plans for a victory.

“It doesn’t really bother us who won and who hasn’t won before because all of those games are in the past,” Bell said.

The Flashes won their first match of the season against the RedHawks, 5-2, but failed to come away with a victory last weekend, falling 2-1.

Maintaining ball control will be the deciding factor in Friday’s match. Last Saturday, Kent State was held without a shot in the first half, and scored the only goal off ten shots in the second half.

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected].