Sept. 18, 2010

Courtesy of Kent State

KENT, Ohio — National rankings have met little to the Kent State field hockey team this season.  The Golden Flashes shutout No. 5 Michigan State 2-0 today at Murphy-Mellis Field to earn their second win over a top 10 team this season.  KSU has now won two straight for the first time season while improving to 4-3 on the year.  MSU falls to 7-1 with its first loss of the season.

"It was nice to see us build on our performance from Sunday's win over Iowa," said Head Coach Kathleen (Schanne) Wiler.  "We maintained possession of the ball and really played a nice structured game this afternoon."

Kent State came out on the attack from the opening whistle.  Junior Amanda Hoffman (Allentown, Pa./William Allen) set the tone early with a steal and a shot attempt less than a minute into the game.  While Hoffman's shot attempt sailed wide of the goal it sent a message that Kent State was ready to play.  The Golden Flashes kept their early momentum going by placing four more shots on goal in the next 12 minutes.  The attack finally paid off when freshman Rebecca Lee (Bathurst, Australia/The Scots School) put the Golden Flashes on the board in the 13 minute.  After Kent State forced a turnover at midfield Lee took a pass from senior Rachel Miller (Bathurst, Australia/MacKilop College) to capitalize on a 2-on-1 breakway on give KSU a 1-0 advantage.

The score would remain there as the Golden Flashes went into halftime holding a 9-7 edge in shots taken and a 5-2 advantage in penalty corners.  

"At halftime I told our team to stay focused and just keep working on what we have been doing," said Wiler.

In the opening minutes of second half junior Debbie Bell (Hamilton, New Zealand / Waikato) dribbled in on the left side after taking a well placed sideline pass from freshman Sabrina Binder (Krefeld, Germany/Arndt-Gymnasium).  Bell's team leading fifth goal of the year put KSU ahead 2-0 at the 38:54 mark of the game.

With the offense setting up the 2-0 advantage the rest of the game belonged to the KSU defense.  Down by two goals the Spartans became more aggressive offensively only to have the Golden Flashes' back four continually turned them away time and again inside the circle.  After trailing statistically in the first half Michigan State came alive posting seven more shots and four more corners than Kent State in the second.  

Despite the increase in action there was no denying Kent State defense on this day as the team posted its first shutout of the season.  When a shot attempt did sneak past the Golden Flashes defense KSU senior goalie Caroline Suitch (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) was there to turn it away.  The reigning Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week, Suitch recorded nine saves while posting her 32nd career victory and ninth career shutout.  Her 32 wins tie her for fifth place in school history with Kelly Walker (1994-97)

"This was a great win against a quality opponent.  I'm proud of the way our team stepped up and accepted the challenge," said Wiler.  "Now we have to get ready for Boston University on Sunday.  They are another great team and we have to come out ready to play."