Sept. 4, 2010

Courtesy of Kent State Athletics

COLUMBUS, Ohio Junior Debbie Bell (Hamilton, New Zealand / Waikato) scored five minutes and 14 seconds into the overtime period to send the Kent State field hockey team past No. 8 Syracuse earlier today at Ohio State's Buckeye Varsity Field.  The Golden Flashes improve to 2-1 on the year with the win, while handing the Orange (3-1) their first loss of the season.  

Kent State earned Head Coach Kathleen (Schanne) Wiler her 50th career victory behind a stout defensive effort in the hard fought contest.  The Golden Flashes fended off a Syracuse offense that generated 22 shots, including 15 in the first half alone.  

The Orange struck first scoring at 19:55 when Amy Kee's attempted from the top of the arc was lifted into the back of the goal.  The advantage would be short lived as junior Carla Johl (Hamilton, New Zealand/Waikato) answered for Kent State less than a minute and a half later.  Capitalizing on a penalty corner opportunity, Johl deflected a pass in from senior Rachel Miller (Bathurst, Australia / MacKillop College) at 21:22.  After missing over half of last season due to injury, the score marked the first for Johl since a gamer winner at Michigan on Oct. 19, 2008.

The aggressive defense by Kent State led to 10-1 advantage in penalty corners for Syracuse in the first half.  Despite the onslaught goalie Caroline Suitch (Mountain Top, Pa. / Crestwood) managed to keep the Orange in check recording 10 of her 11 saves in the first 35 minutes.  In the second half the KSU defense tightened holding SU to four corners and six shot attempts.  

"The defense stayed disciplined and really stepped up their tenacity in the second half," said Wiler.

After just three shot attempts in the first half, the Golden Flashes came alive in the second taking six shots and earning five penalty corners.  Despite the increased activity, KSU was unable to hit pay dirt as the game went into overtime.  

In overtime the Golden Flashes controlled the ball, but Bell's first shot attempt sailed wide.  The Orange earned a penalty corner on the other end only to have Sutich stonewall them for the 11th time in the game.  The reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and a two-time All-American, Miller then took control of a ball about 25 yards out and drove the left baseline.  A perfectly centered pass found a cutting Bell who slammed home the game winner from seven yards out.  

"Our overall effort was great today," added Wiler.  "The game was well played and it was an outright battle for every ball."

The Golden Flashes return to action tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. when they face No. 14 Ohio State.  OSU lost to Syracuse 2-1 in overtime on Friday.