Story Courtesy of Kent State Media Relations
KENT, Ohio - Twenty years after winning its first Mid-American Conference Tournament title, Kent State’s storied history continued with an eighth tournament crown Saturday (Nov. 8) at Murphy-Mellis Field. The Golden Flashes (17-4) dethroned two-time tournament champion Ohio with a 1-0 victory on a chilly afternoon.
“These players deserve every moment they had during this tournament and throughout this season,” Head Coach Kathleen Schanne said. “Their focus has been tremendous.”
With less than 17 minutes remaining in regulation, junior captain Natalie Barrett scored the game’s only goal on a long pass from Rachel Miller. Barrett’s swing did not find the sweet spot on her stick, but it was enough to get the ball past 2007 MAC Player of the Year Jessie Martin.
“It wasn’t the prettiest, but it went in,” Barrett said. “To win it on our home field in front of all of our fans, it’s a dream come true.”
Barrett’s sixth goal of the season was her fourth during a MAC Touranment. Also a member of the 2006 MAC All-Tournament Team, she was one of four Flashes to earn a spot on the 2008 All-Tornament Team. She was joined by Miller, Nicole Leach and Allison Kittelberger. Leach had a pair of goals in KSU’s semifinal victory, while Kittelberger made a critical block late in the game during a Bobcat corner play.
Ohio earned six penalty corners in all, but was shut out by the Flashes for the second time this season. The KSU defense held the Bobcats to just three shots on goal in the Flashes’ sixth shutout of the year. Two of those shots came back-to-back on a corner play, but goalkeeper Caroline Suitch held her ground.
“We work every day on our corner defense in practice,” Schanne said. “And we executed it really well today.”
The Flashes 11th straight victory earns them a spot in an NCAA Tournament Play-In Game Tuesday (Nov. 11) at Atlantic-10 Tournament champion Massachusetts.
“We kept our composure in a high pressure game,” senior captain Stephanie Bernthal said. “So many players have stepped up and matured throughout the season.”
The winner of Tuesday’s game claims a spot in the NCAA’s 16-team tournament beginning Saturday, Nov. 15.