Field hockey picked to win MAC Championship

Matt Gottfried

Kent forward Berber Rischen runs past midfielder Baillie Versfeld of James Madison University in the season opener for the field hockey team. Kent defeated James Madison 2-0.

Credit: Jason Hall

Kent State field hockey fell to James Madison in their season opener Saturday.

The Flashes (0-1) struggled to get anything going offensively, as the Dukes (1-0) jumped ahead 1-0 just 15 minutes into the contest and never looked back. Madison out-shot Kent State 16-12 in the non-conference clash, as junior Berber Rischen provided the bulk of her team’s offensive attack with six shots on goal.

After stringing together an impressive 2004 campaign that featured a co-Mid American Conference title and a 2004 tournament runner-up finish, the Kent State field hockey team will look to embark on yet another successful season as the pre-season favorites to win the MAC championship, despite the rough start.

Unfortunately for them, the task won’t be an easy one to acquire as the recent addition of the new Astroturf at Dix Stadium has forced them into a month long road trip to begin the season while they await for the final touches to be made on their new home facility.

Returning to the Golden Flashes are nine letter winners from last year’s squad. The women went 11-8 overall and 8-2 in the MAC.

The most prominent player was mid-fielder Rischen, who was selected as co-MAC Player of the Year in 2004. Rischen scored six goals for Kent State last year in addition to her 10 assists for 22 points, helping her to earn All-MAC honors.

Despite the vast number of returnees, the Flashes lost six seniors who attributed for more than half of the team’s scoring last season. That should play an important role in the way the offense gels together in the beginning stages of the season.

Head coach Kerry DeVries will look to guide the Flashes through a conference title run for what will be her ninth and final year with the team as she moves to Belgium following the 2005 season.

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