For three and a half periods Sunday, Kent State’s field hockey team played even with the best team in the country.
But a fourth-period goal from Michigan cost Kent State the upset.
“I think today was a really good statement,” coach Kyle DeSandes-Moyer said. “We were happy with the way we bounced back after Friday.”
The Flashes went into Friday’s game with Central Michigan (now 2-6) as the No. 23 team in the country but fell 1-0 on Friday. Kent State is 5-4 overall and tied for second in the Mid-American Conference with fourth other teams at 1-1 in conference play.
“On Friday we had to be really honest with one another,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “We had to reflect, and be really self-aware on what we needed to fix.”
Against Michigan, the Kent State bench practically outcheered the Michigan crowd as the Flashes came as close as any team to beating the Wolverines, who are 8-0. Michigan had won only two other games by one goal, including a 3-2 win over then No. 1 North Carolina in the season opener.
“It was a really great effort,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “I think the entire team’s effort from the beginning was all we could ask for.”
Kent State’s only goal came when sophomore forward Katie Wuerstle deflected the ball off a shot from fifth-year midfielder Ashley Bonetz to tie the game with 1:10 left in the third period. Michigan’s winning goal came with 7:10 left in the fourth period.
Michigan outshot Kent State 16-7 and 7-4 in shots on goal. Michigan had seven penalty corners to Kent State’s four.
Against Central Michigan, KSU dominated the statistics but lost the game.
Kent State outshot Central Michigan 26-11 and 9-7 in shots on goal. The Flashes had 14 penalty corners to CMU's four.
But despite several good opportunities, KSU couldn’t put the ball in the net.
DeSandes-Moyer thought the lack of scoring wasn’t due to lack of ability.
“It isn’t necessarily a skillset,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “It is a mentality and mindset thing, and discipline is what we are emphasizing.”
Kent State travels to Bellarmine University on Saturday. Bellarmine is 1-6 on the season and 0-1 in the MAC.
Jacob Hansen is a reporter. Contact him at email@example.com.