Field hockey wins with flash offense

Jake Kauffman

Bell’s hat trick fuels victory

Kent State junior midfielder Rachel Miller shoots on goal during the first half of Saturday afternoon’s game against Central Michigan. Miller’s goal became the third of four within a seven-minute span. The Flashes won 5-2. Shaye A. Painter | Daily Kent S

Credit: DKS Editors

Debbie Bell made her fourth hat trick of the season and Kent State scored four times in the final nine minutes of the first half to take control of their game against Central Michigan on Saturday.

The 5-2 victory raised the Flashes’ record to 11-6 with a 7-1 record in the Mid-American Conference. Kent State has not lost at home to a MAC opponent since September 2008.

Central Michigan senior forward Kelly Jordan scored the first goal of the game for the Chippewas unassisted from the top of the circle in the 27th minute.

After that it was all Kent State as the Flashes went on to score four goals in the next seven minutes to help close out the first half with a 4-1 lead.

Sophomore forward Bell needed only 26 seconds to answer the first Central Michigan score with one of her own. Bell took senior forward Laurie Wilkins’ cross to the doorstep and netted her 20th goal of the season.

“We had a really good attack today,” Bell said. “It’s always good to start off on the right foot like that.”

Bell went on to score again in the 29th minute off a rebound to give the Flashes the lead, which they held the rest of the game.

Junior midfielder Rachel Miller was the next Flash to score after Bell’s shot was deflected on a penalty corner and collected by Miller who buried it in the back of the net.

Miller scored unassisted again on a backhand from eight yards out near the end of the half.

The Flashes outshot the Chippewas 16-4 in the first half, which pleased Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne.

“I think there were some excellent moments of possession hockey which we were looking to play,” Schanne said. “I think we played at a very high tempo.”

Kent State’s momentum from the first half carried over early into the second half when Bell took another Wilkins’ pass on a breakaway into Central Michigan’s net. It was Bell’s MAC-leading 22nd goal of the season. Wilkins also earned the first multi-assist game of her career.

Kent State wouldn’t score the rest of the game as its offense fell quiet.

“One thing we keep improving on is putting together a whole 70 minutes of play,” Schanne said. “We had 16 shots in the first half to their four, and then they had five shots, and we had four in the second half.”

Central Michigan’s Kim Erasmus scored off of Tara Schiltz’s penalty corner in the 59th minute to bring the game’s final score.

Bell said she had mixed feelings about the game.

“It was a good team game today, lots of passing,” Bell said. “I don’t think it was a complete 70-minute performance, but we did win the game so, it’s promising.”

Schanne saw the same promise in Saturday’s game.

“There are different levels (of play),” Schanne said. “And I think we just need to make better decisions when we’re up.”

Kent State will end its regular season by hosting Miami next Saturday at 11 a.m. and Ball State next Sunday at 1 p.m. at Murphy-Mellis Field.

Contact sports correspondent Jake Kauffman at [email protected]