Flashes get physical to tie for first in MAC

Jeff Russ

The Kent State field hockey team defeated nationally-ranked Ohio 1-0 yesterday at Murphy-Mellis Field in an intense game between two of the Mid-American Conference’s top teams.

“Today it was important to just come out and fight,” coach Kathleen Schanne said. “It was important for the character of the team and obviously important in the conference.”

The Golden Flashes scored with five minutes left when sophomore midfielder Allison Kittelberger scored off the rebound of a Charlotte Muller shot.

“It was on a corner, and the goalie saved the first shot,” Kittelberger said. “But then I was on the post and able to push it past the goalie with my stick. A goal is a goal, so we are all really excited.”

Yesterday’s game in the hot weather was described by the players as one of the most physical and intense games it has played all season.

At halftime, the officials warned each team about the physical play. Kent State freshman forward Megan Scraper and Ohio’s Rita Murphy were given yellow cards and had to sit out for five minutes for rough play in the second half.

“They were physical with us, but we got back at them,” Muller said. “Both teams wanted it so bad, but we pulled off the win, and that’s what we wanted.”

Arguably the two best goalies in the MAC, Kent State senior Kara Copeland and Ohio senior Jessie Martin, lived up to their stats and kept the score close. Both goalies hit the turf throughout the game, keeping the ball out of the cage.

“The goalkeeper went down a lot,” Muller said. “You just had to be smart and get it around her.”

Muller nearly scored the goal right before Kittelberger’s deflection.

The Flashes bounced back from Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Central Michigan, and is now 9-4 this season, tied for first with Ohio in the MAC.

“I knew we were a team, I knew we were able to do it,” Muller said. “It is great to see the team pull together, and I definitely think that we are a number one team.”

The team will host Michigan at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Murphy-Mellis Field.

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Jeff Russ at [email protected].