Flashes’ improvements show

Chris Gates

Flashes’ forward, Laurie Wilkins, pulls back to drive the ball from almost the 50 yard line during Friday’s win against Pacific. Shaye A. Painter | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Flashes’ Katie George tries to pull the ball away from a Pacific player during Friday’s game. Shaye A. Painter | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Midfielder Rachel Miller celebrates with her teammates after defeating Lock Haven in a close match yesterday. The final score was 4-2. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State field hockey team’s all-around improvements led to two home wins this weekend at the Golden Flash Invitational.

The Flashes (3-1) beat Pacific 2-1 Friday and Lock Haven 4-2 yesterday at Murphy-Mellis Field. The wins were a product of the team’s focus during practice. During the week, the team practiced defense and corners most, and improvements were seen in both areas over the weekend.

“It was really great to come out with two wins,” sophomore Rachel Miller said. “We worked on a lot of stuff from the weekend before that we took away from our loss.

“We came out and fixed a lot of it and came away with two wins.”

The Flashes have focused on improving since a 2-0 loss Aug. 31 at Ohio State. In that game, the team was unable to take advantage of opportunities throughout the game. This was not the case over the weekend.

With the next four games on the road, three of which are against preseason top 20 teams, the Flashes need to be playing their best hockey of the season, Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said.

“Every game we play is building a foundation for our conference,” Schanne said. “I think this weekend we definitely added some more bricks and mortar to a really good foundation.

“I’m happy with the overall team effort (and) team performance, which it was.”

The Flashes battled Lock Haven in a hard-fought game yesterday. The Flashes took a 2-0 lead early in the second half after a scoreless first half, but Lock Haven tied the score with 20 minutes to play.

Weekend Results Friday:

&bull Pacific 1 – Kent State 2


&bull Lock Haven 2 – Kent State 4

&bull Debbie Bell scored two goals over the weekend. She leads the Flashes with four so far this season.

However, the Flashes were able to steal back the momentum and won late in the second half on a penalty stroke by Miller.

“I always get scared when I go out to do a stroke,” Miller said. “We do strokes at the end of every practice, so it’s nice to get a little practice with that.”

Miller rifled her shot past a diving save attempt by Lock Haven goalkeeper Erin Terreson. The score came at the 52:14 mark and stole momentum back in the Flashes’ favor.

Miller would add another on a corner after time expired to make the final score 4-2. A field hockey game cannot end on a corner, which allowed Miller’s shot at the end.

Kent State started the weekend with a 2-1 win over Pacific. Freshman Debbie Bell scored at the 25:22 mark of the first half to give the Flashes a 1-0 lead.

The Flashes took that 1-0 lead into halftime and increased it early in the second. Freshman Carla Johl scored off a rebound from Bell’s corner shot to make the score 2-0.

Pacific would make a run late in the game but was unable to tie the score.

Schanne said the team’s performance on corners, which give teams prime chances for shots on goal, needs to improve with the upcoming road games. This weekend the Flashes travel to No. 11 Virginia and then No. 7 James Madison.

Although the corners still need work, Schanne noted the defense displayed this weekend is exactly what she wants to see out of her squad.

“We really wanted to defend the midfield very well,” Schanne said. “It was some of the best defending I’ve seen in the middle of the field thus far.”

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].