Story Courtesy of Kent State Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass. - Kent State played even with UMass for nearly 50 minutes, but the Minutewomen edged the Golden Flashes 1-0 Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 11) in an NCAA Tournament Play-in game at Garber Field. The Flashes end their season with an overall mark of 17-5, the program’s best winning percentage since 2000.
“Going in we knew it was going to be a very good matchup,” Head Coach Kathleen Schanne said. “We talked about how it was probably going to be a one goal game and we were going to need to capitalize on opportunities.”
UMass (17-4) scored the game’s only goal when a long crossing pass from just inside the sideline found the stick of Jill Powers, who quickly gathered her own rebound and put the ball in the left side of the cage. The goal however, did not come on a penalty corner as the KSU defense denied UMass on 10 different corners.
“The more games we played, the more confidence we gained with our penalty corner defense,” Schanne said. “Our defensive discipline and our aggressive presence is something we really take pride in.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Caroline Suitch had one of her best performances of the year, making seven saves, none of which were routine in KSU’s bid to advance to their sixth NCAA Tournament. Senior captain Stephanie Bernthal also made a key defensive save in her final game.
“I told Caroline (Suitch) after the game I was really proud of her,” Schanne said. “She came up with some nice saves today.”
The ninth goal of the year for Powers helped the Minutewomen to their 10th win in 11 games. UMass will play its NCAA Tournament first round game Saturday, Nov. 15.
“I thought we had some opportunities in the first half and the first seven minutes of the second half,” Schanne said. “UMass is a good team with a lot of seniors. If you look at our roster, we are very young so there’s a lot of promise for Kent State Field Hockey. We took some huge steps this season and I’m really proud of theis team.”
The Flashes took eight shots, four of which were on goal. UMass goalkeeper Alesha Widdal led the Minutewomen to their ninth shutout of the season.
Although the Flashes season has come to an end several awards are yet to come, including the Academic All-MAC Team and the All West Region Teams, which are expected to be released within the next week.