Field hockey looks to improve in MAC

Matt Gottfried

Freshman midfielder/forward Natalie Barrett fights for the ball with Michigan midfielder Jillianne Whitfield in the Sept. 25 3-4 loss to Michigan.

Credit: Steve Schirra

Kent State field hockey posted back-to-back wins over the top two teams in the Mid-American Conference this past weekend, just when it seemed the 2005 season was over following an 0-11 start.

Heading into this weekend, the Flashes (2-12, 2-2 MAC) will look to do the same as they host MAC foes Miami and Ball State with the possibility of moving into the No. 2 spot in the MAC.

On Friday afternoon, the RedHawks will head into Kent State 6-7 overall and 3-2 in MAC play. Earlier this season, Miami defeated the Flashes, 4-0, in a second half push that resulted in three goals. In that contest, the RedHawks snapped a 19-game losing streak to Kent State. Miami’s 3-2 MAC record places them second in the conference behind only Ohio (4-1 in MAC), who the Flashes defeated Sunday 3-2.

If the Flashes win the remainder of their six MAC games, they would be assured at least a tie of the conference title for the third-straight year. Yet, in order to do so, they must first get past Miami and the Cardinals this weekend.

Ball State, who rests at the bottom of the conference standings with a 1-3 MAC record, has struggled all season. Their opponents have outscored them 43-15 so far this season en route to an overall record of 2-9. Though the Flashes have yet to face the Cardinals this year, they’ve won 10 of their last 12 meetings, including a two-game sweep last season.

On Tuesday the Flashes took on Ohio State in their last non-conference game of the season. The No. 9 Buckeyes kept up their 10-game winning streak, beating the Flashes 4-2.

Freshman Britt van Pelt scored her sixth goal of the last three games late in the game.

Junior goalkeeper Linz Markwart only let three goals get past her and made six saves.

After the trip to Ohio State, the Flashes will return home for a four-game home stretch beginning with this weekend’s contests with Miami and Ball State. The following week, Kent State will look for redemption against Southwest Missouri State, which defeated Kent State for the first time ever with a 2-1 victory in double overtime earlier this season. The Flashes then finish their home stretch against Ohio.

Even with the slow start, the Flashes have put themselves in a position few thought possible after a 0-11 start. That position: control of their own destiny.

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