Freshman leads field hockey to two wins

Chris Gates

Freshman forward Debbie Bell scored five goals over the weekend to lead the Kent State field hockey team to wins over Vermont and No. 20 Albany.

Four of Bell’s goals were tallied in yesterday’s game against Albany, accounting for the Flashes’ entire offensive output in their 4-3 win. Bell now leads the team with nine goals on the season.

“I’m obviously pretty happy with it,” Bell said. “But I was just doing my job. All in all, we won.”

It took double overtime yesterday for the Flashes to record their first win over a ranked team this season. Bell scored her first goal 7:14 into the game, and the lead lasted until halftime.

Bell and Albany traded goals throughout the second period, and the teams finished with a 3-3 tie after regulation.

After a scoreless first overtime period, Kent State took advantage of a penalty corner. Bell was able to carry the ball and shoot it to the back left corner of the net for the win.

Game notes:

• Freshman phenom

Bell is on track to be the second straight freshman to lead the Flashes in goals and total scoring. Rachel Miller led the team last season with 12 goals and 33 points.

• Looking for ranking

The 2-0 weekend and yesterday’s win over No. 20 Albany give the Flashes a chance to be ranked in this week’s STX/NFHCA Coaches Poll. The team received six votes in last week’s poll.

• A look ahead

The Flashes will begin Mid-American Conference play by hosting Central Michigan at 1 p.m. Saturday and Ohio at 1 p.m. Sunday at Murphy-Mellis Field. Central Michigan is 1-5 this season, and Ohio is 2-5.

“We had no doubt that we could finish the game,” Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said. “I was just pleased with the way our team was really confident, strong and unified.”

The Flashes started the weekend on a positive note, shutting out Vermont 3-0 Friday. The Catamounts managed only six shots against Kent State while allowing 11 total shots.

Bell, junior forward Natalie Barrett and sophomore midfielder Rachel Miller all scored one goal in the win. Junior midfielder Allison Kittelberger added two assists in the game.

Schanne said the weekend proved to be a huge boost for the Flashes, as Mid-American Conference play begins Saturday afternoon against Central Michigan at Murphy-Mellis Field.

“I think this weekend was a real great test for us,” Schanne said. “We’re really pleased with the momentum we have going in to the MAC conference’s season.

“Overall, I’m really pleased with our team’s effort to finish a weekend.”

Bell said Kent State benefited from a positive workweek in practice leading up to the weekend. The same is expected with conference play only five days away.

“You’ve got to have a positive outlook on what you’re doing,” Bell said. “Our main focus was that we picked up after last week. I think we did that really well, and we were all rewarded with two wins.”

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].