Field hockey wins final home games of season
The seniors on the Central Michigan field hockey team left the field holding their heads high after a 2-1 senior day win against Ball State on Sunday.
The Chippewas wasted little time, scoring their first goal 2:24 into the first half of the game, held at the Field Hockey Complex.
Senior Captain Paulina Lee passed the ball into the circle where junior midfielder Erin Dye was waiting and shot the ball past the goalkeeper.
“Before the game started, we talked about gaining intensity earlier into games,” said head coach Cristy Freese. “We knew this game was going to be a tough challange and the team wanted to play strong for the seniors.”
Ball State answered with a goal when senior forward Devanny Kuhn dribbled the ball past the CMU defense, into the circle and scored unassisted, tying the game at one.
Freshman Cayleigh Immelman flicked the ball over a defenders stick and a diving Lee knocked the ball left of the goalkeepers foot for the winning goal five minutes after the BSU goal.
Junior goalkeeper Anastasia Netto made three saves in the final minutes to keep CMU on top.
“I have to play every minute of every game with the same intensity,” Netto said. “You have to absorb the pressure while in net, and I have complete faith in this team to do the same.”
Only eight and half minutes into the first half and CMU trailed Miami of Ohio 2-0, not the start Freese imagined.
“In the first half, Miami was being more aggressive than us,” Freese said. “They were mentally being pushed off the ball and had to make some changes to give us a shot to win.”
Despite the two-goal deficit CMU faced, there are two halves and it capitalized in the second, winning 3-2 against the RedHawks on Saturday at the CMU Field Hockey Complex.
Lee carried the ball up the sideline into the corner, passed a defender and crossed the ball from the baseline into the circle where Immelman deflected the ball past the goalkeeper for her ninth goal of the season.
After two questionable false start calls, the Chippewas earned a penalty stroke. RedHawks head coach Inako Puzo was ejected for arguing the call with 21:42 left to play.
Immelman took the penalty stroke and lifted the ball above the goalkeeper’s outstretched glove and into the net, giving the freshman her second goal of the game.
“During penalty strokes I pretend I’m in practice and forget all about the pressure,” Immelman said. “I focus where I want to put the ball and I hope it hits the back of the net — it usually works.”
The two wins put CMU second in the Mid-American Conference standings.
“The sweep this weekend was really important for us,” Freese said. “We got good players and it’s a good feeling to see our hard work pay off this weekend.”
The wins were especially important to senior Lee and Brooke Sihota.
“This win was big because of its conference implications and also because I wanted my last game in Mount Pleasant to be a victory,” Lee said. “Leaving from CMU, I want to be remembered as a good person, a good teammate and a difference-maker on the field.”
The Chippewas finish the regular season with four road games before the MAC Tournament.
Next weekend CMU will travel to Durham North Carolina to play Appalachian State at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Duke at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
“Overall, this weekend was not one of our best,” Lee said. “But this is why I love this team. We are always willing to improve and we need to improve on finishing in the circle.”
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