Lock Haven to offer tough test

Chris Gates

Playing Lock Haven at 1 p.m. Sunday is no easy task for the Kent State field hockey team, as it faces a team that has dominated the Northeast Conference for years.

The Eagles have only been a Division I program for four years, but they have made the most of that time. Since joining the NEC, Lock Haven has won every conference regular season title, as well as the last two NEC Tournament titles.

“We played them last year at the Temple Invitational and it was a really hard-fought game,” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said of the Flashes’ 1-0 win last season. “(They’re) definitely a strong team in their conference.”

The Eagles’ success is likely to continue this year, as they have been picked as the preseason favorite to win the conference, just as the Flashes have been picked to win the Mid-American Conference.

In order to beat Lock Haven, Schanne said Kent State will need to focus on an aspect of its game that it has struggled with early on: corners, which are prime opportunities for shots on goal. Corners were a main focus in practice, and Schanne said the team seems to be improving.

“We had a really good week of practice,” Schanne said. “(We) executed corners today. We probably scored more in practice (this week) than we have (before), including preseason practice. It’s been really positive.”

Schanne said defense will also be a concern against Lock Haven. Last season, the Eagles outscored opponents 77-32 and allowed just six goals in conference play.


KENT STATE (1-1-0) vs. LOCK HAVEN (1-1-0)

Where: Murphy-Mellis Field (Behind Dix Stadium)

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

“I know they have a real strong center-mid (senior Blair Wynne),” Schanne said. It’s going to be key that we keep her intact. I know that if she gets a little bit frustrated, she kind of quits and stops playing.”

Wynne, a two-time NEC Player of the Year scored 45 points (17 goals, 11 assists) last season.

Sophomore forward Amy Hordendorf, defending NEC Rookie of the Year, (30 points last season) continued her good play from last season by winning NEC Player of the Week last week, scoring two goals in Lock Haven’s opener against Longwood.

The Flashes know those two, along with the rest of the Eagles’ offense, must have limited chances in order for them to win.

“We’ve really been working on our defense this week,” senior back MaryKate Hanosek said. “We’ve been working hard on using our press and our defensive skills to shut down teams. So hopefully, that will show in the games.”

In the opening game of the season, Kent State held St. Francis to only five shots while registering 35 of its own.

After Friday’s game against Pacific, Sunday is a big chance for the Flashes to make up for the loss, five days ago, at Ohio State. Both the Buckeyes and the Eagles are frequent vote-getters in the top-20, and a win will help improve Kent State’s Ratings Percentage Index ranking.

“Things are coming along,” Hanosek said. “We’re really starting to get the concepts in and working hard to get them down so that we can perform in the games.”

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].