Stories courtesy of MAC Media Relations Departments
MAC Field Hockey Championship Central
Kent State 4, Central Michigan 2
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Top seeded Kent State advanced to the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship game for the 15th time in school history after posting a 4-2 win over tournament host Central Michigan. The Golden Flashes now face Miami in the 2010 MAC Championship Game which takes place tomorrow (Nov. 6) at 1:00 p.m. at the CMU Field Hockey Complex.
"Anytime you have the chance to play for a championship it is exciting," said Kent State Head Coach Kathleen (Schanne) Wiler. "Our girls have worked hard all season to get this opportunity and they can not wait to get back out there with a shot a the title tomorrow."
The Golden Flashes (14-6) entered the game ranked 10th in the country in scoring, but it was a vaulted defensive presence that led the team to its seventh straight win. With heavy pressure and a well disciplined defense, Kent State held Central Michigan without a penalty corner and to just a pair of shot attempts.
"Every game in the MAC Tournament is a challenge and we really stepped up our defense to meet that challenge today," said Wiler. "We stayed disciplined in our defensive structure and by not allowing a penalty corner it helped us limit their opportunities to score."
While shutting down the Chippewas on one end, the Golden Flashes came out firing on the other. Senior Nicole Leach (San Diego, Calif./Mira Mesa) put Kent State on the board just 13 minutes into the game to help lead an attack that outshot Central Michigan 21-2 for the game. Leach, a MAC All-Tournament Team selection each of the past two seasons, continued her outstanding play in the post-season when she put her team up 1-0 with a tip in off a shot by junior Debbie Bell (Hamilton, New Zealand / Waikato).
One of the top scorers in the nation, Bell extended the lead 10 minutes later with her MAC leading 23rd goal of the season. Bell managed to find the back of the cage in the 24th minute knocking one home in a scramble in front of the goal.
While Central Michigan (6-14) posted only two shots for the game, the Chippewas made them both count. The first cut the deficit to a single goal in the closing minute of the first half when Emily Girasole scored her first goal of the season off a cross from Pam Seufert.
Leading 2-1 at half time, Kent State regained a two-goal cushion after Bell struck again in the 43rd minute. Bell, who now has four straight multi-goal games, scored when she tipped in a shot from senior Katie George (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara). Despite the domination by the Golden Flashes statistically, the Chippewas continued to make a game of it when Seufert scored in the 52nd minute to trim the deficit to a single goal yet again.
"This was hard fought game by both teams," said Wiler. "Central Michigan played well in the win yesterday over Missouri State and that carried over into today's game. We battled with the for the entire 70 minutes."
Playing in her 78th career game today, Kent State senior Bryn Stevens (Hummerlstown, Pa./Lower Dauphin) helped seal the win a little less than five minutes after Central Michigan closed the gap. The score which put the Golden Flashes ahead 4-2 marked the first goal of Stevens career.
Kent State, which last won the MAC Tournament in 2008, will look to claim its ninth title and advance to NCAA play tomorrow.
Miami 3, Ohio 0
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The Miami field hockey team is heading to the MAC Championship game for the second straight year and the third time in the past four seasons with a 3-0 victory over Ohio in the Semifinals on Friday. The RedHawks improve to 14-6, with the 14 wins tying for third-most in school history. The Bobcats finish the season at 12-10.
"I think it was a really good battle today between two really good teams," said head coach Jill Reeve. "We really had to fight for it."
Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Mueller, named to the All-MAC Second Team on Thursday, was on top of her game early on. She made three early saves in the first 10 minutes to keep the game scoreless. Still scoreless in the 22nd minute, Olivia Miller found Kelsey Lund across the goal and Lund buried the shot to give Miami a 1-0 lead. That advantage would hold through halftime even though Ohio outshot the RedHawks 6-5 and had a 5-1 advantage in penalty corners.
"Sarah really saved us early on with some huge plays," said Reeve. "She was a real leader back there and kept us calm."
Miami struck again early in the second half. Mary Hull scored her 14th goal of the year off of a Kate Snyder assist in the 43rd minute to make it 2-0. In the 63rd minute, Kylie Landeros concluded the scoring when she found the loose ball during a penalty corner and beat the Bobcat goalie.
"Each of the goals today was a great play and a really big moment," said Reeve.
Ohio outshot Miami, 13-7 for the game and had the penalty corner advantage at 10-3. Lund led the RedHawks with three shots, two of which were on goal. Mueller finished the contest with five saves to earn her third consecutive shutout and eighth of the season.
Miami will take on top seed and fellow MAC Co-Regular Season Champion Kent State for the MAC Tournament Championship on Saturday at 1 p.m.