Field hockey in MSU Tournament after starting season 3-2
The field hockey team made the most of its first five games of the season.
The team picked up three wins, including a rare victory over a ranked opponent.
“We were really focused and ready,” Central Michigan head coach Cristy Freese said. “We were under pressure in all of those games, and we competed well.”
The Chippewas, if they can handle the pressure once more, could add to their successful start in the Michigan State Tournament beginning Friday in East Lansing.
Their opening round opponent is Louisville, who defeated Ohio, the defending Mid-American Conference champion, 2-1 Saturday.
The Chippewas lost to the Cardinals 9-0 in their last meeting in 2010, suffering their worst defeat since they lost by the same score to Iowa in 2008.
CMU won six games in 2010 — a number the team has already reached the halfway point of after five games this season.
Freese said she looks forward to seeing how the teams measure up. Although, she might already know if their spring league results are any indication.
The Chippewas beat Louisville 2-1 in their last meeting, finishing the spring 3-1-2.
“We played really well in the spring,” Freese said. “Our strength is always going to be how our team plays together. How our team communicates together; so if they’re all on the same page, certainly, can we compete against Louisville? Yes.”
CMU had plenty of time to prepare for the tournament without a game on the schedule last weekend.
Freese said they had many longer practices with no fear of overworking players right before games. CMU scrimmaged on Sept. 7 and had a practice Sunday also.
“It’s good for the players,” Freese said. “We’ve been on the road. They can get settled into their classwork and get up into their studies because after this, we have no bye weeks.”
The Chippewas, with five games wrapped up, have already taken down a high-caliber team in Maine. But Freese said there is no complacency.
“I’ve been so cranky in practice that I wouldn’t allow it,” Freese said. “I think they totally forgot they beat a ranked opponent.”
Sophomore Cayleigh Immelman said the top-25 win only shows what they are capable of.
“The point is that we can do it, and now we’ve proved it,” Immelman said. “It’s a motivation to work harder.”
Immelman, the 2011 Chippewas goal leader, has deflected scoring opportunities to other players, tallying two points on two assists this season.
“I feel it doesn’t matter who scores the goals as long as they’re being scored,” Immelman said. “We’re learning how to play together, and we’re learning that it’s not just one person that has to score the goal.”
The two other teams in the MSU tournament are the Spartans and American. The winners and losers of the opening round will face off Sunday.
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