Field hockey beats Miami 1-0 to seize first place in MAC

Fifth year goal keeper Azure Fernsler (82) blocks the ball from going into the net during the field hockey game on Oct. 15, 2021. Kent State beat Miami University 1-0 in regular time.

Jacob Hansen Reporter

This time the Kent State field hockey team didn’t need a miracle finish.

Last weekend, the Flashes rallied twice in the last two minutes on their way to victories over Longwood and Indiana. Friday, they scored early against Miami University and held on for a 1-0 victory to take sole possession of first place in the Mid-American Conference. 

Six minutes into the game, junior Maria Cambra Soler scored off a penalty corner with assists from senior midfielder Helena Cambra Soler and senior forward Luisa Knapp. 

After a series of games falling behind, coach Kyle DeSandes-Moyer was pleased to start off strong. 

“We were very happy we jumped on top,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “It has been something we have been talking about the past couple of weeks and has been a focus of ours.”

Kent State improves to 9-4 overall and 4-1 in the MAC. Miami falls to 7-10 overall and 4-1 in the MAC. The Flashes were ranked 24th in the country going into Friday’s game.

Miami outshot Kent State 16-4 and in shots on goal 8-3. Miami had 11 penalty corners this game compared to KSU’s three. 

But KSU’s defense stopped Miami every time.

“I was very much so proud of the defense,” she said. “Miami came out really aggressive at us, and our defense put some pressure on them and pushed through until the end.”

Fifth-year senior goalie Azure Fernsler had eight saves.

Kent State and Miami are the only teams in the MAC with only one loss in league play. The Flashes play at Appalachian State (2-2 MAC) next week and finish the regular season at Ball State Oct. 30. With KSU’s win, it holds the tiebreaker against the Redhawks if the teams tie at the end of the regular season. That would give the Flashes the top seed in the MAC Tournament.

“We still have to close it out,” she said. “The good news is that we are in control of our own destiny.”

KSU, which beat three nationally ranked teams earlier in the season, also plays non-conference games at Bucknell Sunday and at No. 9 Liberty Oct. 24.

“It’s nice to have those non-conference wins,” she said. “But we want to win the MAC championship and want to win the tournament, and that is the most important thing to us.”

Jacob Hansen is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].