Field hockey brings a team-first mentality to the field this year

Tyler McIntosh

Junior Anna McComb defends the ball from an Albany opponent during yesterday’s field hockey match. Kent State lost the match 2-0, bringing their season record to 0-2. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

The 2006 Kent State field hockey team has two goals for the upcoming season: becoming a team in every sense of the word and winning.

First-year head coach Kathleen Schanne, who thinks one of her biggest challenges is adjusting to her new role as head coach, made this clear.

“First and foremost we must become a team on and off the field. We have to play for each other each day,” Schanne said. “I want to bring a team-first mentality here. We do not have one superstar to rely on, so every player must do their job.”

Tri-Captains Liz Fettrow, senior midfielder, Charlotte Muller and Caitlin MacKenzie, both junior backs, will help provide leadership for the Flashes along with three other seniors.

Fettrow does not take this role lightly.

“It is absolutely important to maintain a leadership role,” Fettrow said. “We also have to lead by example and show the younger girls what it’s all about.”

Schanne said she feels her seniors are one of the team’s greatest strengths.

“I have a strong senior class. These girls know how to win,” Schanne said.

Another positive for the Flashes are goalkeepers senior Linz Markwart and junior Kara Copeland. Schanne said she thinks Kent State has the best set of goalies in the Mid-American Conference. Markwart will be the team’s starting goalkeeper.

“Linz Markwart is very intelligent and she also has a great attitude,” Schanne said.

While Markwart will anchor the goal, the offense will most likely come from senior forwards Elizabeth Lahey and Kate Perry, and Fettrow, who was voted on the all-MAC first-team last season.

Junior back Anna McComb, sophomore back MaryKate Hanosek and sophomore forward Natalie Barrett will also look to provide a spark.

Barrett got Schanne’s attention with great performances during the team’s June camp.

“Natalie Barrett has worked hard every day and has shown a great attitude,” Schanne said.

Also catching Schanne’s eye were a pair of freshmen. Midfielder Annika Gouws and forward/midfielder Allison Kittelberger figure to play a role in the team’s success this season.

“Annika Gouws will definitely see some time this year, and Allison Kittelberger has a ton of potential and will play some also,” Schanne said.

If the Flashes hope to make it through what appears to be a grueling non-conference schedule, they will need all of these players to contribute.

“Our out-of-conference schedule will really prepare us for the MAC season,” Schanne said.

The Flashes will take on nationally-ranked powerhouses No. 2 Wake Forest, No. 3 Duke, No. 8 Michigan, No. 12 Iowa and No. 16 Michigan State. They lost to No. 18 James Madison 3-1 in their season opener Saturday. Playing such highly regarded programs has given the team something to shoot for.

“I think the girls have made it a goal to knock off a top-ten team this year,” Schanne said.

The Flashes are looking to avoid getting off to a slow start. Last season the Flashes started a paltry 0-11.

“We want to be more competitive in our non-conference schedule this year,” Lahey said.

MAC play kicks off Sept. 22 against Miami. While the team’s conference schedule is not as imposing on paper as its non-conference schedule, it won’t be easy for a team transitioning to a new coach and system.

Despite losing just one regular-season MAC game since 2003, the Flashes were picked to finish fourth in the conference this season behind Miami, Ohio and Central Michigan.

The Flashes plan to get through a long and trying season by keeping their eyes set on the present and not worrying about the future.

“We also want to take it one game at a time and play each game like it is a championship game,” Schanne said.

Contact field hockey reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected]