Field hockey stays undefeated in the MAC

Cody Erbacher

Watch video from the game.

In a rematch of last year’s Mid-American Conference championship, the Kent State field hockey team beat Ohio 2-1 in an overtime victory yesterday at Murphy-Mellis Field.

“We play really well as a team when we’re even or when we’re down,” junior midfielder Rachel Miller said. “We always have a fight. I knew we were going to come out on top.”

Miller won the game for the Flashes with a goal off a penalty corner with five minutes left in the quarter. Miller rebounded her original shot and rocketed the ball into the back of the cage to end the game.

“The team really worked hard the whole game,” Miller said. “It was good to get a corner and put one of their defenders away so we had numbers up.”

Kent State played the majority of the overtime quarter without its leading scorer, sophomore forward Debbie Bell. Bell received a yellow card after an altercation with Ohio senior forward Marcy Dull in the first minutes of overtime, keeping her out of the game for five minutes.

The Bobcats struck first during regulation with a goal from junior Katherine Ballard in the 31st minute off a penalty corner. Bell quickly tied the game with a goal two minutes later.

Bell dribbled the ball through the Bobcat defenders into the shooting circle and fired a backhand shot past the goalkeeper.

The goal was Bell’s MAC-leading 13th of the year.

The Flashes controlled most of the second half by maintaining possession of the ball for a majority of the half. Kent State was unable to capitalize on the possession, getting off just two shots in the half.

“The big thing was keeping possession on the ball,” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said. “We had a ton of pressure on them. I thought it was a well-played game by both teams.”

As regulation came to a finish, Ohio had two penalty corners, giving the Bobcats a chance to take the lead, but junior goalkeeper Caroline Suitch made two clutch diving saves to send the game into overtime. Suitch recorded three saves on the day.

Sunday’s game was just the third overtime match in Murphy-Mellis Field’s history. The two previous overtime matches had come against Ball State. The last overtime game for Kent State was a 1-0 win against Michigan last season.

The Flashes remain undefeated in the MAC with three wins and improve, to a 6-5 overall record.

“It’s a big (confidence) boost,” Miller said. “The start of our season probably wasn’t how we wanted to come out, but we’ve really peaked at the right time starting with the MAC.”

On Friday, Kent State traveled to Michigan to take on Central Michigan. The Flashes beat the Chippewas 2-1.

The game remained scoreless until senior midfielder Allison Kittelberger scored in the 53rd minute. Bell capped off the Flashes scoring in the 58th minute with a goal from a Miller assist to give the team just enough to beat the Chippewas.

Next Kent State will travel to Oxford to face Miami, who is undefeated in the MAC, on Saturday. The Flashes will then head to Muncie, Ind., to take on Ball State on Sunday.

“We made a pact that we are just going to take one game at a time,” Schanne said. “We’re not going to look ahead, and (the players) are doing good and staying focused.”

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected]