Field Hockey moves on

Chris Gates

An early 1-0 deficit to Central Michigan motivated the Kent State field hockey team to score four unanswered goals, giving the Flashes a 4-1 win in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament yesterday at Murphy-Mellis Field.

The Flashes were a bit on edge to start the game. Players seemed to be thinking faster than they were moving and therefore misconnected on several passes early on.

“Warmup was really good, and I shortened it a little because I said, ‘Save it for the game, ladies,'” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said. “Really, we had some opportunities. I just think we had a little letdown there.

“I think they just were hungry. I don’t think anxious is the word, I think they were hungry to play.”

Early on, the Chippewas were able to disrupt Kent State passes at midfield and create scoring chances.

In the first nine minutes, Central Michigan earned two penalty corners, the second of which it capitalized on. Senior forward Samantha Sandham scored the goal at the 8:09 mark, and it seemed the Chippewas would gain even more momentum.

However, Kent State quickly responded. The Flashes worked the ball low in the offensive zone and earned a corner of their own. Though they were unable to score on the chance, the Flashes registered two shots and drew a foul, leading to another corner.

On the second chance, freshman forward and MAC Freshman of the Year Debbie Bell got the ball from sophomore midfielder Rachel Miller and put it past Central Michigan goalkeeper Melinda Curran. The goal, scored at the 11:09 mark, proved to be the biggest momentum swing of the game.

“I just feel like they responded, that’s all,” Schanne said. “We just talk about (wanting) to be a machine. We just want to keep rolling.”

It was also the beginning of a three-point day for Miller. About five minutes later, Miller fired a shot into the goal off a pass from junior forward Laurie Wilkins to make the score 2-1. It proved to be the game-winning goal.

“I was happy with the way I played, but everyone on the team played really well and we held it up nicely,” Miller said.

“We’re really happy with the way we performed today, obviously, coming away with a win . We put some great passing together, we executed when we needed to, and it was just nice.”

Miller added another assist in the second half on one of sophomore forward Nicole Leach’s two goals.

After the Flashes won, Ohio beat Miami in the second semifinal game of the day. That sets up a rematch of the Flashes’ only conference loss all season: at home against the Bobcats.

Schanne wants her team to be positive and believe in the talent that is there. This, she believes, is all the Flashes need to do to win.

“Overall, we just need to stay confident and keep the ball moving,” Schanne said. “I think we tend to get a little fatigued (and) we possibly hold on to the ball too long, so we just need to do the details and stay moving with that ball.”

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].