Freshman adjusting nicely to student-athlete life

Tyler McIntosh

Allison Kittelberger passes to a teammate during a 2-0 loss to Albany on Aug. 28. The Flashes look for their first win today against Michigan in Ann Arbor. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

Take a second and think back to freshman year of college. Most students spent their first semester perpetually lost and under more pressure than they’d ever felt before.

They could no longer rely on others to get them out of bed in the morning or cook their meals; professors actually expected the assigned text to be read and the laundry no longer magically cleaned itself.

Freshman midfielder Allison Kittelberger is staring these stresses square in the eye.

And she also has the pressure of starting for a Kent State field hockey team trying to bring home its second consecutive Mid-American Conference championship.

“One of my biggest transitions has been adjusting to the whole college lifestyle,” Kittelberger said. “I have talked to all of my professors and I pretty much know what I have to do. I just have to work extra hard and get everything done so I don’t fall behind.”

Balancing school and field hockey is key for Kittelberger. A normal day consists of morning classes followed by a bus ride to practice in the afternoon. After a ride home, a quick dinner with her teammates and some homework, she gets up the next day and does it all again.

On the field, Kittelberger has had little trouble adjusting. But she’s ahead of where she thought she would be at the beginning of her freshman year.

“I did not expect to start at all,” she said. “I was just hoping to play a little bit and contribute. I was not expecting any of this.”

Kittelberger, who chose to attend Kent State because of its past success in field hockey and its business program, attributes her speed and athleticism as the main reasons she has seen so much playing time.

“I am a very athletic person, and I am really fast,” she said. “I think my speed helps me a lot. I can recover quickly and be the first to the ball.”

Kittelberger has also been praised for her defense by Kent State coach Kathleen Schanne. Schanne said she was pleased with the way Kittelberger defended during the team’s recent games against No. 3 Duke and No. 12 Iowa.

However, Kittelberger realizes she is far from a finished product. The Webster, N.Y. native hopes to keep honing her basic skills and stay focused on doing her job assignments on the field.

Kittelberger’s quick transition to college field hockey will continue today when Kent State visits No. 8 Michigan (0-4).

“The team is fired up,” she said. “We really want to play well and get a win as a team. We fall apart when we start to play as individuals.”

Three of Michigan’s four losses this season have come at the hands of teams ranked in the top 10 of the NFHCA coaches poll.

Michigan is coached by Nancy Cox, who coached last year’s team to a Big Ten tournament title and an appearance in the Elite Eight.

On the field, senior captain defender Kara Lentz leads Michigan. Despite missing the first two games of the season, Lentz is tied for the team lead in goals with one and is second in shots with seven.

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