Field hockey falls in MAC semis

Jeff Russ

Kent State freshman forward Rachel Miller dribbles the ball down the field. Kent State lost to Miami 2-3 last Saturday in the MAC Tournament. Photo courtesy of Aaron Chimenti

Credit: Ron Soltys

The Kent State field hockey team’s season ended Friday by losing to Miami 3-2 in the semifinals of the Mid-American Championship at Miami Turf Field in Oxford.

Miami got on the board eight minutes into the first half when Danielle Gaynor scored her fifth goal of the season off a direct shot from a penalty corner.

Kent State had plenty of opportunities in the first half to score with five penalty corners, but could not take advantage of the opportunities and went into the half behind 1-0.

“We didn’t execute the way we needed to on penalty corners today,” coach Kathleen Schanne said.

But, as the team has all season, the Flashes bounced backed in the second half.

“I think the second half was definitely a better half for us than the first,” Schanne said.

The Flashes aggressively took control of the ball at the beginning of the half and got the ball inside the circle and the net. Five minutes into the second half, the Flashes got on the board when senior forward Libby Lame took a pass from Rachel Miller, crossed in front of the goal and tied the game 1-1. It was Lame’s third goal of the season and Miller’s ninth assist.

Midway through the second half, Miami retook the lead whenTaylor Florence scored her fifth goal of the season and first of two second-half goals off a give-and-go on the penalty corner.

Once again, the Flashes bounced back.

“This team fights so hard,” Schanne said. “It’s excellent to see this team come back like that.”

As the clock wound down to less than ten minutes, senior midfielder and team captain Charlotte Muller nailed her final goal at Kent State on an unassisted line drive to tie the game 2-2 late in the second half.

“It was a beautiful goal, it was excellent,” Schanne said. “. . .just from the play in the middle defensively to the pressure we were putting on.”

As everyone at the field expected the game to head to overtime, Miami aggressively moved the ball into the Kent State zone and managed to get a couple penalty corners. The Kent State defense prevented those goals, but the turning point came when both teams fought for the ball in front of the goal. The Flashes trying to keep the game tied and Miami trying to win the game. The ball was shot, and the referee blew her whistle and called for a Miami penalty stroke, claiming Kent State goalie Kara Copeland tried to illegally smother the ball.

Miami’s Taylor Florence and Kent State’s Kara Copeland stared each other down, but Florence prevailed with her second goal of the game, and Miami took the late 3-2 lead.

Kent State had two and half minutes to save its season but failed to convert a late penalty corner, and the Redhawks prevailed.

After the game, Schanne was not going to let the loss ruin a successful 12-9 season.

“Not only did they fight their hearts out today, they have all season,” she said. “I told them how proud I was of them and of the season they gave this university.”

Contact field hockey reporter Jeff Russ at [email protected].