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Game story courtesy of Kent State Media Relations
Kent State 3, Miami 2
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The Kent State field hockey team rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the second half to claim a 3-2 win over Miami in the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship game. The win gives the Golden Flashes the ninth title in program history and advances the team to the NCAA Play-in game at the winner of the Patriot League on Tuesday, November 9.
Junior Debbie Bell (Hamilton, New Zealand / Waikato) recorded her fifth straight multi-goal game scoring twice in the second half including her MAC leading seventh game-winning goal of the year. Bell's first score tied the game the game in the 54th minute while her second came on a rebound in the 68th minute and put Kent State on top to stay.
As expected the match-up of the MAC's regular season co-champions was well played and tightly contested. When the first half came to a close both shots taken (5-5) and penalty corners (3-3) were dead even. Following a first half full of defensive stands at the CMU Field Hockey Complex, the second was all fireworks.
The RedHawks struck first when they broke the scoreless tie in the 45th minute on a Kylie Landeros goal from right in front of the cage out of a penalty corner opportunity. Once the lid was off the score board continued to light up. Following the goal by Miami, MAC Player of the Year Rachel Miller (Bathurst, Australia/MacKillop College) answered five minutes later for the Golden Flashes when she posted her 11th goal of the year.
The score would not stayed tied for long as Emily Gruesser put the Red Hawks back on top 2-1 at the 53:13 mark. Kent State would trail for only 30 seconds as Bell quickly responded off an assist from MAC Freshman of the Year Rebecca Lee (Bathurst, Australia/The Scots School).
The Golden Flashes would keep the pressure on attempting five more shots in the next 14 minutes before Bell finally found the net with the game winner. After Kent State earned a penalty corner, Miller had her shot attempt blocked, but Bell, who's 26 goals ranks top 10 in the nation, was there with the put back. With the Golden Flashes clinging to a 3-2 lead, Miami drew a corner opportunity with 25 seconds remaining, but senior goalie Caroline Suitch (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) made two saves in the closing second to preserve the win and send Kent State onto NCAA play for the seventh time in school history.
Winners of eight straight and 10 of the last 11 game, the Golden Flashes now await the winner of the Lafayette-American Patriot League Championship game.
2010 MAC Field Hockey All-Tournament Team
Kim Sihota, Central Michigan
Simone Lazar, Central Michigan
Paige Herr, Ohio
Andrea Biegalski, Ohio
Mary Hull, Miami
Sarah Mueller, Miami
Kylie Landeros, Miami
Debbie Bell, Kent State
Amy Wimsatt, Kent State
Katie George, Kent State
Rachel Miller, Kent State (Tournament MVP)