Field hockey to take on ‘unfinished business’

Cody Erbacher

Fresh off of MAC championship season, Flashes’ coach sets goals to defend title, return to NCAA Tournament play-in game

The Kent State field hockey team has simple, but lofty goals for the 2009 season.

“Our goals are standard, we want to win the (Mid-American Conference) regular season to position ourselves for the MAC Tournament,” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said.

2009 field hockey schedule

Aug. 22, 1 PM Iowa (Exhibition) H

Aug. 28, 1 PM St. Louis H

Aug. 30, 1 PM James Madison H

Sept. 3, 4 PM Pacific

Sept. 5, 11 AM at California

Sept. 6, 1 PM at Stanford

Sept. 11, 1 PM Virginia H

Sept. 13, 1 PM at Lock Haven

Sept. 16, 3 PM Ohio State H

Sept. 25, 4 PM Missouri State MAC

Oct. 2, 3 PM Central Michigan MAC

Oct. 4, 1 PM Ohio H MAC

Oct. 10, 1 PM Miami MAC

Oct. 11, 1 PM Ball State MAC

Oct. 16, 3 PM Ohio MAC

Oct. 17, 1 PM Missouri State H MAC

Oct. 21, 3 PM Michigan

Oct. 24, 1 PM Central Michigan H MAC

Oct. 31, 11 AM Miami H MAC

Nov. 1, 1 PM Ball State H MAC

H: Home match

MAC: Mid-American Conference match

Following the regular season, the Flashes hope to win the MAC Tournament and return to the NCAA Tournament play-in game.

“We have unfinished business, (and) as a result, we want to get to the play-in game and finish it off,” Schanne said.

The Flashes season ended with a loss against University of Massachusetts during an NCAA Tournament play-in game in 2008. Prior to the loss, the Flashes won the MAC Tournament Championship along with a regular season first-place finish.

The team finished the season ranked 19th in the final National Field Hockey Coaches Association Poll.

Flash Facts

• Kent State’s first field hockey team formed in 1975 under head coach Judy Devine. She coached the Flashes for six years, compiling a 66-44-17 record including Kent State’s only 30-win season in 1978.

• Elsbeth Versterre holds many of Kent State’s all-time scoring records. Versterre set the record for most career points (162), most points in a season (94 in 1998), most career goals (65) and most goals in a season (38 in 1998).

“Overall, we were proud of last year’s team,” Schanne said. “We’re looking forward to this season.

Last season’s dominant performance in the MAC doesn’t leave Schanne with any feelings of anxiety.

“When you’re a reigning champion, you’re going to have a bull’s-eye on your back, but I’m feeling more excited than feeling any pressure,” said Schanne, who won the MAC Coach of the Year award last season.

Leading the team on the field this season are captains Rachel Miller, a junior midfielder, and senior midfielder Allison Kittelberger.

Miller was named to the NFHCA Third Team All-American, making her the first Kent State All-American since 2002. Miller was one of four players on the roster to start every game last season.

Kittelberger earned Second Team All-MAC honors for the second straight season in 2008 and also started every game.

From the team’s 21-player roster in 2008, only two players were lost after graduation. Schanne said it helps that the team only lost two players, but their skill and leadership will still be missed.

The Flashes added four freshmen players to the roster this year: forward Andrea Camut, back Kelley Braman, midfielder/forward Ashley Espy and midfielder Sheridan Edwards.

“They bring really good character and athleticism to the team,” Schanne said. “They really want to be at Kent State playing field hockey.”

The off-season has helped the new players bond with the returning roster.

“We had a really great off-season where we grew a lot as a group,” Schanne said. “We have little holes, but it’s more promising than anything.”

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected].