Field hockey begins MAC schedule this weekend

Chris Gates

The Mid-American Conference season starts this weekend for the Kent State field hockey team, with games against Central Michigan tomorrow and Ohio on Sunday at Murphy-Mellis Field.

The weekend is the beginning of a stretch in which Kent State will play 10 of its final 11 games in the MAC.

“Obviously we want to make a statement in the MAC,” senior back Stephanie Bernthal said. “It’s a tough MAC season all the way through so (we) want to get off to a good start.”

Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said the conference is strong as a whole, and this year the MAC has a chance to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA’s. Currently, the winner of the MAC has to compete in a play-in game to make the tournament.

“Everybody fights, and they fight for 70 minutes,” Schanne said. “We play each other twice and battle every game. I think it’s great (the MAC) is strong and playing top 20 teams.”

As conference play begins, take a look at how the conference has done so far this season:


The Redhawks are 5-3-0 (1-0 MAC) thus far, having played an average schedule compared to the rest of the conference. They have played only one ranked team, No. 10 Michigan State, which ended in a 5-1 home loss.

Currently at the top of the conference standings, Miami received four votes in the latest National Field Hockey Coaches Association Top 20 poll, 30 votes behind Kent State.

The Redhawks played Central Michigan and won 2-0 in tournament play at the beginning of the season, giving them their MAC victory.


Ohio has played the toughest schedule of any MAC team. The Bobcats’ 2-5-0 record doesn’t necessarily reflect their talent on the field, which could explain why they received nine votes in the latest top 20 poll. Ohio’s losses came to No. 7 James Madison, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 11 Louisville, No. 1 Wake Forest and No. 8 Virginia.

Given their opponents, the Bobcats have been outscored 16-8 and outshot 75-34 so far this season. They are also failing to get corners, prime scoring opportunities throughout the game, with the chances heavily favoring the opponent, 58-37.

Ohio was picked to finish third in the MAC in the preseason coaches poll. Currently, the Bobcats are in fourth place.

Central Michigan:

Central Michigan is 1-5-0 (0-1 MAC) and struggling in nearly every offensive category.

The Chippewas are getting doubled in goals, 24-12, and have been outshot 64-42. The one category where they have succeeded is corner opportunities. However, they have been unable to convert those opportunities.

Central Michigan was picked fourth in the MAC preseason poll and currently holds fifth place in the standings.

Ball State:

Ball State occupies the bottom spot in the MAC, with one win in seven games.

The Cardinals are suffering just as much or more than Central Michigan on offense. Ball State has been shut out three times this season, including its past two games, and has lost six straight.

They also allow four goals per game and more than 11 shots per game. Picked fifth in the MAC to start the year, Ball State is currently sixth.

Missouri State:

The Bears are the surprise team so far this season in the MAC. Picked last by the coaches in the preseason, Missouri State has a 5-3-0 overall record and are currently ranked third in the conference. Last season, the Bears went 2-19.

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].