Ohio 1, Miami 0
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Field Hockey emerged victorious in a hard-fought game Sunday against Miami, beating the visiting RedHawks 1-0. The win was Ohio's seventh consecutive Mid-American Conference victory, and gives them the first seed in the upcoming conference tournament. Marcy Dull (Ephrata, Pa.) scored the game-winner in the 59th minute off a penalty corner.
The Bobcats knew what was at stake and played accordingly. The match got off to a quick start, with Miami's Katie Brightwell firing an early shot on goal. Courtney Seiders (Mt. Joy, Pa.) was equal to it, making her first of what would ultimately be six saves on the day.
Not long after that, Nina Bruno (Chevy Chase, Md.) launched a shot on goal that actually beat keeper Kelsey Dean but was saved off the line by Brightwell. The Bobcats were just inches away from going up 1-0 early.
Dull fired a shot on net in the 20th minute, but Dean was in the right place and knocked it aside. The match then settled into a defensive battle for the remainder of the first half, with the `Cats controlling much of the play for the first 35 minutes.
The second half got off to a roaring start, with the teams combining for five shots in the first five minutes. The visiting RedHawks really stepped up the pressure in the second half, but the stout Ohio defense--which has not allowed a goal in three consecutive games--held firm.
"Everyone played well," said head coach Neil Macmillan. "Courtney (Seiders) played exceptionally well at the back; Nina (Bruno) did a great job of stepping up...it was the usual suspects back there."
The intensity of the day kept getting higher and higher until Ohio struck first, scoring in the 59th minute on a penalty corner. Brittany Zorn (Millersville, Md.) fed the ball in to Katelyn Shelley (Ephrata, Pa.) who laid it up perfectly for Dull's strike.
"Patty (Donahue) set that up," said Dull. "She won a corner and everything was executed perfectly..I got a pretty good hold of it and put it in the back of the cage."
Ohio was able to hold off Miami's furious and frantic attempts at an equalizer, and Seiders made a very solid save in the 68th minute to preserve the victory.
The regular-season conference title is a huge accomplishment for the Bobcats (10-8, 8-2 MAC), who at one point were 1-2 in MAC play.
"It is really exciting," said Dull. "I'm really proud of our team because we had some struggles at the beginning of the season and we really took it upon ourselves to turn our season around."
The Bobcats will begin play in the conference tournament in Muncie, Indiana, on Friday, November 6. Matchups are to be determined.
Kent State 8, Ball State 0
KENT, Ohio -Kent State earned a share of the Mid-American Conference Regular Season Title after sophomore Debbie Bell's (Hamilton, New Zealand / Waikato) five-goal performance led the Golden Flashes to an 8-0 win over Ball State. KSU finishes the regular season at 12-7 and tied with Ohio for first place in MAC with an 8-2 record. Ball State fell to 4-14 and 2-8 with the loss.
Due to tie breaker scenarios, Kent State will be the second seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament and will face the winner of the Miami - Missouri State game at 2:30 pm on Friday, Nov. 6. The entire tournament takes place at Ball State in Muncie, Ind.
Bell started the scoring early for KSU when she teamed up with junior Rachel Miller (Bathurst, Australia / MacKillop College) to score off a penalty corner in the 10th minute. The duo would be heard from again, and again as they each matched single game NCAA highs for this season, Bell with the five goals, and Miller with the five assists. With 28 goals this season, Bell has equaled Jakolien van Eijk (1997) for the second most goals in a single year by a KSU player.
The duo was not the only Golden Flashes that lit-up the scoreboard today. Playing in her final regular season home game, senior Laurie Wilkins (Toledo, Ohio / Ottawa Hills) posted her first multi-goal effort of the year with two goals while also adding an assist. Wilkins, who has played in 81 career games, established a new career high with 20 points (8 goals - 4 assists) this season. Sophomore Amanda Hoffman (Allentown, Pa. / William Allen) accounted for the other goal scored, which was her second goal of the year and came on the Wilkins assist in the 57th minute.
"We had great contributions from everyone on the team today, said Head Coach Kathleen Schanne. "From the energy on the sidelines to the effort on the field it was a total team performance."
Senior captain Allison Kittelberger (Webster, N.Y. / Schroeder) also had an assist on a penalty corner goal by Bell to bring her season total to nine. Having started in 62 consecutive games, Kittelberger ranks 10th all-time at KSU with 27 career assists.
Helping the Golden Flashes pitch their fourth shutout of the season, was another senior honoree Kara Rhodenbaugh (Oxford, Ohio / Talawanda). Rhodenbaugh, and the KSU defense limited Ball State to just four shots on the day. In goal, junior Caroline Suitch (Mountain Top, Pa. / Crestwood) had two saves for her eighth career shutout.
The MAC regular season title is the 10th in school history and first back-to-back championships since the program won three straight from 2003-2005.