Field hockey stays undefeated in MAC with comeback win

Cody Erbacher

Hat trick by Bell carries team for fifth straight victory

Sophomore forward Debbie Bell’s hat trick in the second half of yesterday’s game gave the Kent State field hockey team just enough to edge out Ball State, 3-2.

“The second half for us was just outstanding,” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said. “We had people at the right places, at the right time.”

The win improved Kent State’s record to 5-0 in the Mid-American Conference and 8-5 overall. It also extended the Flashes winning streak to five games, but Schanne said the girls know the MAC competition is tough.

“We talked about how we can’t underestimate any team,” Schanne said. “It’s tough competition whether their record reflects that or not.”

Bell, who recorded her third hat trick of the year, scored all three goals in the second half. She leads the MAC with 18 goals.

Bell scored her first goal two minutes into the second half off a deflection from junior midfielder Rachel Miller. Miller leads the Flashes with six assists on the season.

Bell’s second goal came from a penalty corner in the 54th minute, assisted from senior midfielder Allison Kittelberger and junior forward Nicole Leach.

“When Debbie put the ball in the back of the net, there were a lot of people that helped set up those goals,” Schanne said. “It was a total, complete team effort in the second half.”

Bell’s game-winning goal came in the 60th minute when she rebounded the ball and shot it past the Cardinal defenders.

After Ball State shot the ball three times in the second half, Kent State was able to hold them scoreless to win the game.

“As a team, defensively, in the second half, we were great,” Schanne said. “We had determination and we limited Ball State’s opportunities.”

The Flashes outshot the Cardinals 26-9 with Bell contributing eight shots.

“I’m really pleased at the way we performed this weekend,” Schanne said. “We just need to continue to improve at this point as we sort of head into the second round of the MAC.”

Kent State’s remainder of the schedule includes rematches with every MAC team. The Flashes are the only unbeaten team in the MAC after defeating previously unbeaten Miami on Friday.

Kent State traveled to Oxford to take on Miami. The Flashes took sole possession of first place in the MAC after beating the RedHawks, 5-2.

With three Kent State goals in the first half and two in the second, Miami never had an opportunity to beat the Flashes.

Bell and junior back Kara Rhodenbaugh both scored two goals for Kent State, and senior forward Laurie Wilkins added a goal.

Junior goalkeeper Caroline Suitch managed to hold the RedHawks offense to two goals with five saves.

The team will travel to Athens to take on Ohio on Friday and then will welcome Missouri State at 3 p.m. Saturday at Murphy-Mellis Field.

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected]