OU, oh yeah: Field hockey remains undefeated in MAC after a dramatic overtime goal

James Goddard, Reporter

Six minutes into overtime in Friday’s game, Ohio was pushing the ball toward Kent State’s goal when Flashes intercepted it.

Freshman Patricia Strunk headed back on the attack and tapped the ball behind her to sophomore midfielder Agustina Florio, who stopped and dropped the ball behind her to senior midfielder Larissa Balachick.

Balachick rifled the back to Strunk, who was breaking up the field 15 feet to the right of the net. Strunk fired a sharply angled shot into the center of the cage past the Bobcat goalie.

Strunk, who was running up to the circle, then shot the winning goal.

With that goal, Kent State’s field hockey team went 3-0 to start its Mid-American Conference season.

“It was a really good moment to score,” a happy Strunk said on the team bus on the way home. “I was so happy that we won the game after coming back two times.”

Strunk had also scored KSU’s first goal three minutes into the game, but the Flashes had trailed 2-1 in the second quarter and 3-2 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Flashes tied the game 3-3 on a penalty corner by Sydney Washburn with an assist by Florio.

In the third quarter, Florio also scored KSU’s second goal off assists from first-year Maia Sarrabayrouse and Balachick.

“I had immense pride,” coach Kyle DeSandes-Moyer said. “They battled back multiple times and tied the match. Showing that resiliency was great.”

Kent State and Miami are tied for first in the MAC.

“This game showed them that every MAC team is going to come at us,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “It’s going to be a battle and no team is going to hand us the win.”

Strunk said she thinks the team has what it takes to win every MAC game.

“I think we’re prepared to play,” Strunk said. “It’s not easy to win a MAC game, but we can have the opportunity to win [close games].”

The KSU offense outshot the Bobcats 18-9 and managed 13 penalty corners against Ohio’s five.

Ohio goalie Nele Graner had 10 saves.

“The Ohio goalkeeper had a phenomenal day in the cage,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “It took a lot of persistence from our squad. We kept our heads down, and we’re able to put those goals in even though she was having an awesome game.”

DeSandes-Moyer said the team’s offense against Ohio emphasized speed.

“We worked a lot in practice moving the ball forward and seeing how we can create a number overload,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “We’ll continue to work on that.”

Sunday, the Flashes dropped a non-conference game to No. 24 Ohio State 3-0.

“It was exciting to have another opportunity to play a non-conference opponent,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “I wanted them to be able to shake off the nerves that come with a MAC game.”

“We were able to get a lot of players into the game and get them experience. We were able to have some players play different positions and learn to adapt — which was good in a non-conference setting.”

The Flashes “just lost a little focus today and got down on ourselves,” DeSandes-Moyer said against Ohio State.

“It was starkly contrasted to Friday, where we were really in that game,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “We’re working on having a strong mentality throughout an entire weekend.”

The Flashes’ next game is against Central Michigan at noon Friday at Murphy-Mellis Field.

James Goddard is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].