Field hockey continues west coast road trip with California, Stanford

Cody Erbacher

Flashes top Pacific to start road trip Cody Erbacher

Kent State junior Nicole Leach (R) works to control the ball against St. Louis Billikens defender Kelsey Traynor (L) during the second period of their game at Kent. Kent State won the game 7-0. Daniel Maxwell | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State field hockey team continued a three-game win steak against Pacific yesterday, beating the Tigers 3-1.

Senior forward Laurie Wilkins started the Flashes scoring on an assist from sophomore forward Debbie Bell at 15:08 in the game.

Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said it is a big help whenever her team can get on the board first to really boost the players’ momentum.

The game remained 1-0 until Pacific senior forward Kiddy Leubane dribbled the ball past a defender on the right side and fired it into the goal to tie the game at 1-1.

Shortly after, Bell followed up with her team-leading fifth goal of the season to put Kent State up 2-1. Bell managed to give the Flashes the lead, assist Wilkins’ goal and have four shot attempts while playing only 19 minutes.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Bell said. “I just wanted to put the ball in the goal.”

But the Flashes didn’t stop there. With less than two minutes to go in the game, senior midfielder Allison Kittelberger passed the ball to junior midfielder Rachel Miller for a goal to end the game with the 3-1 score.

Schanne said the defense really did well the last 20 minutes of the game, and the backfield was organized nicely.

Part of Kent State’s success came from junior goalkeeper Caroline Suitch, the Mid-American Conference Player of the Week. Suitch recorded three saves yesterday to increase her total to 11 saves on the season.

Kent State continued its trend of outshooting its opponents. Both teams made four shot attempts each in the first half, but in the second half the Flashes outshot the Tigers 11-2. The Flashes also managed to have 10 shots on goal to Pacific’s six.

“I would love to see more shots, but I think we capitalized on opportunities we had today, and I’m pleased with the results,” Schanne said.

Kent State will finish its road trip on the West Coast this weekend, facing California tomorrow at 2 p.m. and then Stanford on Sunday at 4 p.m.

This will be the first matchup between the Flashes and the Bears. The Bears enter the game with a 1-0 record.

California was ranked just beneath Kent State in the Kookaburra/NFHCA Preseason Poll with 38 votes. Kent State had 40 votes. Stanford entered the season getting four votes.

Stanford is 0-2 all time against Kent State, but the previous meetings were on a neutral site. The last time the Flashes played Stanford was 2002.

Stanford is 1-0 during the regular season and finished 3-0 in the preseason.

“I’m really looking forward to being out here,” Schanne said. “I’m really pleased we came out with a victory today, and I’m just looking forward to the rest of our matches.”

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected].