Award winners lead team into rematch
The Kent State field hockey team enters today’s game at Ohio with both the offensive and defensive players of the week for the Mid-American Conference.
Freshman forward Debbie Bell and sophomore back Kara Rhodenbaugh won the awards after helping the Flashes sweep Miami and Ball State last weekend. Kent State is now tied for first in the MAC standings.
“I was very honored (by the award),” Bell said. “But I’ve got a great team around me, which helps.”
Bell has made an immediate impact since the start of the season, as she leads the team in goals (14) and points (29). Her goal total leads the MAC and places her in the top 10 nationally.
Three of her 14 goals and an assist came last weekend.
Rhodenbaugh has been the form of consistency in Kent State’s backfield, starting in all 12 games this season. She recorded a defensive save, aiding the goalie in stopping a shot against Miami on Friday to help the Flashes win 2-1.
“I’m just pleased for them,” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said. “Our team had a really good weekend. Awards and wins are a team effort and are a result of team chemistry.”
Today’s game is important regarding the conference standings. The Flashes and Bobcats are in a three-way tie with Miami for first in the MAC standings.
Kent State’s last loss was to Ohio, 1-0 at home Sept. 28. In a response to that game, Schanne and the Flashes geared their focus to offensive pressure inside the 25-yard line. The pressure has paid off, resulting in a 2-0 record since the loss.
“(We’ll) go with our speed and attack in the game (today),” Schanne said. “I think we did a nice job against their key players last time, so we’re going to try and do the same thing.”
Sunday, Kent State will return home to Murphy-Mellis Field to play Missouri State. The Bears (6-6, 1-1 MAC) have never won at Kent State.
In its last game, Missouri State got shut out 8-0 at No. 5 Iowa State.
The players said they know their opponents’ tendencies after viewing game tape and referencing past games, but that’s not their main concern.
“We’re not as much worried about what the opponents do,” Bell said. “We’re still going to be playing our (style of) hockey.”
Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected]