After losing a tough 2-0 game at Ohio State Sunday, the Kent State field hockey team is looking to forget about the last weekend of August by starting September off with a successful showing at this weekend’s Golden Flash Invitational.
The Flashes host Pacific at Murphy-Mellis Field at 3 p.m. Friday for the first game of the invitational. Both teams enter the game after suffering losses over the weekend. The Tigers struggled in their first game of the season, losing to California 3-0 Saturday.
The Flashes are looking to continue their improved play from the second half against Ohio State. Kent State also must remember what made it successful in its home opener, a 9-0 victory Saturday against St. Francis.
&bull PACIFIC (0-3-0)
&bull When: 3 p.m. Friday.
&bull Where: Murphy-Mellis Field (behind Dix Stadium)
“We just sort of regrouped at halftime (Sunday) and talked about where our game plan was (and our) focus for the game (was),” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said. “I think our team did a nice job of responding after halftime.”
Kent State’s biggest improvement was on the defensive side of the ball. Early in the first half, Ohio State took advantage of two defensive lapses to score twice. The Flashes were unable to do the same on offense, but they did limit the Buckeyes in the second half.
Facing Pacific, Kent State will have the opportunity to exploit the same weakness St. Francis showed in the season opener: a struggling defense that doesn’t allow offense to generate.
In the season opener, the Flashes outshot St. Francis 35-5 because they were able to keep constant pressure on the Red Flash defense. Pacific mirrored St. Francis, as they were outshot 19-2 against California.
The offense for the Tigers is also struggling so far this season. In two exhibition games and one regular season game, Pacific has scored only one goal.
Young Flashes shined in the St. Francis game and will look to gain more playing time against Pacific. Freshmen Debbie Bell and Chelsea Sickel, two of the eight freshmen on the team, both scored two goals in their debuts.
“(It was a) pretty awesome match and (an) awesome team to play with,” Bell said. “I think we’re really coming together as a team. Obviously, we’re improving every week (with) lots of hard work on the training.”
The team has shown nothing but confidence so far and knows a few adjustments can lead to more success this weekend.
“(We’ll) keep working on basics and continue to nail down our defensive structure a little bit more,” Schanne said.
After facing the Tigers, the Flashes will have a day to prepare for Lock Haven, who they will play at 1 p.m. Sunday as part of the Golden Flash Invitational. Pacific and Lock Haven will also play each other at 2 p.m. Saturday at Murphy-Mellis Field.
“We’re really looking forward to next weekend,” Schanne said. “We have two quality teams that we’re hosting at home, and we’re just really looking ahead and preparing for next week.”
Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected]