Field hockey strives for MAC title

Matt Gottfried

After the Kent State field hockey team’s 2-0 win over Ball State yesterday, the Flashes now find themselves just one win away from their third-straight Mid-American Conference title.

The win assured the Flashes (7-12, 7-2 MAC) at least a share of the MAC title.

Against the Cardinals (3-13, 2-7 MAC), it took less than six minutes for freshman midfielder Britt Van Pelt to put the Flashes on top as her goal with 29:55 remaining led the way to the victory. The goal was Pelt’s eighth of the season, which ties the team-high with junior foward Elizabeth Lahey who also recorded her eighth goal later in the second half.

Lahey needed even less time then Van Pelt to get on the board as she scored just 12 seconds into the second half to put Kent State up 2-0.

Junior goalkeeper Linz Markwart continued to play solid between the goalposts, recording her second-straight shutout this season. Markwart, who saved 12 shots in the win over Ball State, was named MAC Defensive Player of the Week earlier this week. It was the second time in three weeks she earned the award, with the other recipient being fellow teammate sophomore goalkeeper Kara Copeland.

Despite holding an advantage in both shots on goal and penalty corners, the Cardinals were held in check offensivley for their 10th loss in 12 games.

Ball State was awarded 13 corner opportunities to the Flashes’ five but was unable to convert on every attempt. The Cardinals also got off seven more shots with their 17-10 advantage. But, a strong defensive effort by Kent State proved to be significant in the conference win.

This afternoon, Kent State will continue its road trip to Michigan for its regular season finale, where they will battle Central Michigan for sole possession of first place in the MAC. The Flashes defeated the Chippewas 5-3 earlier this season, jump-starting their current seven-game MAC winning streak.

Though Central Michigan’s 7-10, 4-4 MAC record has them out of conference contention, they will still enter the contest looking to spoil the Flashes’ conference title hopes.

The Flashes have won the last seven meetings with Central Michigan and will attempt to conclude the biggest turnaround in the program’s history after an 0-11 start. With one more win today, they will finally be able to put their troubled past behind them.

Yet even with a loss against the Chippewas this afternoon, Kent State will return home with a MAC Championship, a feat many felt was impossible just one month ago.

Contact field hockey reporter Matt Gottfried at [email protected].