Flashes beat the Bears

Cody Erbacher

Field hockey begins MAC play with win

The Kent State field hockey team opened Mid-American Conference play Friday with a 6-3 victory at Missouri State.

“We went down there, and we played an excellent first half,” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said. “We came out with a great result.”

Sophomore forward Debbie Bell led the team in scoring with three goals on nine shot attempts. Bell leads the team with 11 goals on the season.

Bell started Kent State’s scoring in the 11th minute when she scored off a penalty corner pass from senior midfielder Allison Kittelberger. The Flashes concluded the first half with a goal from junior forward Nicole Leach in the 27th minute.

The Bears quickly cut into the Flashes lead at the start of the second half when senior forward Melissa Lantz rocketed in a goal off a penalty corner pass. Lantz scored all three of Missouri State’s goals.

“We didn’t play all 70 minutes,” Schanne said. “Our first half was solid, but in the second half we had some moments where we were a little slow.”

Freshman midfielder/forward Ashley Espy answered with a goal off a break away in the 50th minute to give the Flashes a two-goal advantage. Espy’s goal was the first of her career.

Lantz scored her second goal seven minutes later to add pressure to Kent State, as the score was 3-2.

Bell answered with a goal off an assist from Espy, and Lantz scored her third goal to keep the Bears down by only one.

But that’s as close as Missouri State would get, as Bell would score her third goal of the day to give Kent State a two-goal lead. The Flashes’ scoring ended with a goal from sophomore midfielder Amanda Hoffman.

The goal was Hoffman’s first in just the second game of her career.

“It’s really great to have a player like Bell, but I would say the really great thing was that we had other players that stepped up,” Schanne said. “It was just a total team effort.”

Kent State led Missouri State in shots 14-8, and both teams had seven penalty corners on the day.

Junior goalkeeper Caroline Suitch returned to the cage against the Bears. Suitch made three saves on the day.

Kent State travels to Central Michigan to take on the Chippewas next Friday before returning home to face Ohio on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected]