Flashes look to repeat last year’s late-season success on the road

Tyler McIntosh

With just eight regular season games remaining in the regular season, the Kent State field hockey team is in fourth place in the Mid-American Conference.

To win a fourth-consecutive MAC regular-season championship, Kent State may have to duplicate last season’s late-season run when it won its final six games of the season.

This weekend Kent State (4-8, 1-2 MAC) will play at Central Michigan tomorrow and host the MAC’s No. 1 team, Ohio, Sunday.

“This weekend’s games will definitely show us where we are,” junior back/midfielder Charlotte Muller said. “We will have played every team in the MAC, so we will know what to expect. This is a big weekend; it will give us a good idea of where we are at as a team.”

Muller said this year’s team may be ahead of where the team was last year at this time.

“Last year the turning point was when we lost to Missouri State,” Muller said. “It was horrible. It did not look like college-level field hockey. This year, we know how to win and what it feels like to win, but I think it’s a mental game. There is still a lot of pressure on us.”

Muller said this year’s team also knows it has to keep up with the winning tradition the Flashes have established.

“We have won the MAC conference the last three years,” Muller said. “We have to keep that up. In the preseason polls the coaches said we were predicted to finish fourth. And coaches not seeing us as that good of a team has not happened in the last couple of years. I feel we are good enough to win the MAC conference and the MAC tournament, too.”

Central Michigan (5-5, 0-2 MAC) is the only team in the MAC without a conference victory this season. They are also on a three-game losing streak.

Kelly Jordan leads the Chippewas with six goals and three assists. Goalie Danielle Frank has 77 saves. Frank has stopped 78.6 percent of the shots that have come her way this season.

Ohio (6-5, 3-0 MAC), which has a one-game lead over Miami in the MAC standings, has shutout its last three opponents. Goalie Jessie Martin has 45 saves and is second in the MAC with a 2.39 goals-against average.

With 23 goals, the Flashes are second in the MAC in scoring. The Flashes are also second in the MAC in assists with 18.

Senior forward Kate Perry’s seven goals lead the MAC. Senior forward Elizabeth Lahey has added five and Muller has four goals.

Kent States coach Kathleen Schanne said that the offensive success is due to the team’s focus on playing with one another rather than each player trying to do it on their own.

“We have been really working on playing two-touch hockey,” Schanne said. “The forwards are playing off of each other instead of trying to take it one-on-one. I think that’s why we are having so many opportunities. They are implementing passing patterns, passing drills and shooting drills they’ve learned in practice.”

The Flashes have won seven consecutive regular-season games over the Chippewas and nine straight games over the Bobcats.

Kent State will play at Central Michigan at 1 p.m. tomorrow and then come home to play Ohio at 1 p.m. Sunday at Murphy Mellis field.

Contact field hockey reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].