KSU field hockey team splits conference openers

Tyler McIntosh

The Kent State University field hockey team discusses their strategy as the Miami University team prepares to rush out of the goal box. Miami University went on to beat Kent 7-4. DAVID RANUCCI | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

Kent State’s quest for a Mid-American Conference championship started this weekend with mixed results.

Kent State (3-7, 1-1 MAC) lost to Miami (4-5, 1-0) 7-4 on Friday. But the team would get its first MAC win Saturday, when it defeated Ball State (1-8, 0-2) 2-1.

The Flashes started out slowly against the RedHawks. Miami scored one minute into the game, when Danielle Perrecone scored from just inside the circle. It took six minutes for the Flashes to sustain a possession in the RedHawks’ territory. Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne said these slow starts have to stop.

“I told them this can’t be a regular occurrence,” Schanne said. “I think it’s just learning and maturity. We are going to get past it.”

Miami would add its second goal of the game after Kent State was unable to completely clear Miami’s corner attempt from the circle. Deb Leighton gained control of the loose ball and hit in from the top of the circle.

Kent State would get its first goal of the game when senior forward Kate Perry corralled a rebound and shot it past Miami goalie Megan Stengel.

Less than two minutes later, freshman midfielder Allison Kittelberger tied the game at 2-2 when she scored her first career goal. Perry assisted Kittelberger on the play. Perry said that the forwards attacking at different angles was an important part of the team’s recent offensive success.

“It’s the way we are set up,” Perry said. “We are focusing a lot on angles on the field. We always have a forward high, one in the center and one on the right. It seems to throw off the defense. The high forward can come around and receive the ball on the line. It’s our style; our forwards always have the angles.”

The RedHawks would take a 3-2 lead when Mary Hull intercepted a pass and after advancing the ball sent it past senior goalie Linz Markwart.

However, senior forward Elizabeth Lahey scored her fourth goal of the year with just 52 seconds remaining in the half to make the score 3-3.

“I was pleased with the fight to tie it up after being scored on 57 seconds into the half,” Schanne said.

“I don’t think we trapped the ball or stepped up strong. You can’t just expect that these details will be there, you have to do them every day. Miami was really aggressive, but I suspected that. Miami has a lot of depth. There were no surprises.”

Miami started the second half by scoring three unanswered goals in three minutes to take a 6-3 lead.

“I don’t know what happened in the second half,” Perry said. “Unfortunately that’s field hockey. We have to play all 70 minutes and today we didn’t do that.”

Kent State could not overcome the three-goal deficit and would go on to lose the game 7-4. Kent State was out-shot 10-8 and out-cornered 8-2 in the second half.

“We have a lot of stuff to learn from that second half,” Perry said. “The team needs to make sure that we are not rushing our free hits and that we keep control of the ball and that we work it up the field as a team to get a goal.”

Kent State avoided a second slow start when Perry scored off of a penalty corner in the second minute of the game vs. Ball State. Junior back Charlotte Muller assisted Perry on the goal. Schanne said she was happy that her team did not let the Miami game get to them.

“It was really great how they came out and rebounded after a tough loss,” Schanne said. “We came out and executed a corner in the first half and got on the board the earliest we have all season. We passed the ball back to Kate Perry and she knocked it in the net.”

The rest of the first half was dominated with hard play. Kent State and Ball State combined for 55 fouls in the first half. Muller, who was holding an ice pack under her left eye after the game, said this was the most physical game of the season.

“They were really aggressive to the ball,” Muller said. “We tend to get aggressive too, but we try to be the better women and play for the ball and not for the person. Today we did that well.”

Kent State took a 1-0 lead into halftime and expanded it to a 2-0 lead when Muller scored off of Kent State’s second penalty corner of the second half. Perry and sophomore back Stephanie Bernthal each got an assist on the play.

“It was awesome,” Muller said. “It was the first time that I scored on a straight shot out of a penalty corner. It was just great to get one in the goal.”

Ball State would get as close as 2-1, but were unable to tie the game on a penalty corner as time expired. Muller said that a talkative defense was one reason why Kent State was able to hold Ball State to one goal.

“Compared to yesterday the defense really picked it up,” Muller said. “The communication was so much better. The minute we start talking the defense picks up. It starts with the goalie. As long as they keep communicating to the backfield it’s fine.”

In her first start of the season, junior goalie Kara Copeland recorded eight saves and gave up only one goal. Schanne said that the decision to start Copeland over reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Week Linz Markwart was made after the Miami game.

“I thought Kara did a really nice job,” Schanne said. “She would have had a shut out if we would have got a little touch on the corner. I don’t know what happened there.”

Schanne said that she will wait until later in the week to decide who will be starting at goalie for the Flashes against Missouri State.

Kent State will travel to Missouri on Friday to take on Missouri State (3-3, 0-0).

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