There are only two Mid-American Conference field hockey teams with an unblemished conference record.
The field hockey team will face one of those teams in Missouri State at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Plaster Sports Complex in Springfield, Mo.
The Bears are new to the top of the standings. They had to beat Ball State and a Miami (Ohio) team that topped Central Michigan at home to get there.
“(Missouri State has) always been a good scoring team, and they’re at least opportunistic in the MAC,” head coach Cristy Freese said. “They’re sitting pretty … but it doesn’t change what we need to do there anyway.”
MSU is led by a familiar name in the conference in junior Hillary Lawless, who has seven goals this season and 21 in her career.
“The kid’s really speedy and aggressive,” Freese said. “She has got a nose to score like Erin (Dye). That kind of player is hard to defend.”
Missouri State’s field turf poses another challenge. The Chippewas used the field at Kelly/Shorts Stadium Tuesday to practice on a surface they do not play on often.
The Field Hockey Complex for CMU has Astroturf that the ball rolls much faster on.
The Bears are a second–half team, scoring 12 goals compared to seven in the first half this season.
They scored two goals in the second half of their 3-1 win over the RedHawks – their second victory in their last 10 games against MU.
CMU junior midfielder Simone Lazar said they need to do much of the same against the surging Bears as players in past weeks have noted about other teams.
“As a team, we need to play together,” Lazar said. “We need to make the smarter passes and quick decisions, and if we work as a unit, we will put some goals in and beat them.”
CMU posted a 2-0 record last weekend after suffering five–straight defeats.
Freese said what the team will carry over from the victories is confidence.
“Losing takes a toll,” Freese said. “It’s nice to have a smile on your face on the way back.”