Saying goodbye to an era

Jeff Russ

Field hockey seniors prepare to play their last home game and leave behind the field that brought them together

CAITLIN PRARAT | DAILY KENT STATER Field hockey seniors Charlotte Muller, Anna McComb, Caitlin Mackenzie, Libby Lame and Kara Copeland are completing their last season with the Flashes.

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State field hockey team faces Missouri State tomorrow at home on Murphy-Mellis Field. For the team’s five seniors, this game is more than just another home game.

The seniors – back Caitlin MacKenzie, midfielder Charlotte Muller, goalie Kara Copeland, forward Libby Lame and midfielder Anna McComb – are playing their final game ever at Murphy-Mellis Saturday.

“We have so many memories, (the stadium) was built while we were here,” McComb said. “We made a lot of tradition on this field.”

The team moved into the stadium in 2005, after sharing Dix Stadium with the football team. The players remembered the punishments changed when the team moved.

“It was nice, because when we got punished as freshmen we had to run the steps (at Dix),” Lame said. “So that was a big upgrade. Now we just run around the stadium.”

The 10-6 Flashes are having one of the team’s best seasons in the girls’ four years. This year’s 3-0 victory over Ohio State was one all the girls thought was one of their favorite memories together.

“Every year since I have been here, we had lost to them,” MacKenzie said. “So beating them, shutting them out on our home turf, was pretty awesome.”

A 1-0 victory over Ohio in 2005, the first year at the stadium, also stuck out in the women’s minds.

“We started off 0-11 that season,” Lame said. “We beat (Ohio) on that turf and we clinched the MAC title that day, so it means a lot.”

The players said they have spent a lot of time together as a team the last four years. To them, the stadium means friendship, through the good times and the bad, and it will always remind them of each other.

“I think we’ve just been through so much as a class, and we’ve been through so many changes,” Lame said. “Some people left, some people went their separate ways. The fact that us five are here together, ending it together, is special.”

Kara Copeland is in the middle of her best season as a Golden Flash, playing every minute in goal this season. She also has three shutouts for the Flashes. Copeland said it was impossible to sum up the last four years in a few words.

“It’s definitely going to be hard,” she said. “Field hockey and Kent State have been consuming our lives for the last four or five years, and to give that all up now is going to be hard.”

For all the memories the women have on the field and in the huddle, they will always remember one symbolic early morning practice.

“We had a 6 a.m. practice, and it was still dark outside,” McComb said. “I can remember after a really hard workout that morning, we all kind of brought it in as the sun came up. It was just like, ‘Wow!’ This is what it means to be hard-working team. We are willing to wake up early as a team to do whatever it takes.”

The door is open for one extra home game. If the team wins the Mid-American Conference championship, then it will play an NCAA tournament play-in game at Murphy-Mellis.

“I’m not trying to look at it as our last home game,” MacKenzie said. “I’m just looking at it like the day we are recognizing the seniors.”

Contact sports reporter Jeff Russ at [email protected].