The field hockey players signaled the importance of their game against Ohio Friday at the Field Hockey Complex by cheering louder than they ever have at home this season when the team tallied the first goal of the game.
When Central Michigan scored its last to win 2-1 in overtime, they showed even more emotion, erupting with joy and nearly circling the field singing the school’s fights song.
“I’m just really excited we were able to pull off the win,” sophomore Jordyn Brengosz. “We knew coming in this was going to be a huge game, and we needed this win to be in really good position in the (Mid-American Conference).”
The Chippewas and Bobcats were two of four teams tied for first in the MAC with a 2-1 record entering the day.
Brengosz did the honors of getting the Chippewas one step closer to their first conference championship in 10 years, swatting a shot into the net in the 76th.minute
“I don’t really get many chances to score on defense,” she said. “I knew, with the play we had, there was a good chance I would get the ball, so I was just ready.”
The possession started with junior Simone Lazar taking the ball almost the full length the field, earning a penalty corner for CMU that put it in position to get the winning goal.
“Simone’s a really smart player,” head coach Cristy Freese said. “She realized the advantage we would have on that, and she was willing to run almost 100 yards, knowing that she would have to drop back for the penalty corner.”
It was CMU’s fourth overtime game this season. The team is 2-2 in extra minutes after losing all three overtime games last season.
The score was 1-1 at halftime. Bobcats sophomore Kristine Gegas tied the game, nine minutes after Bailey McKeon scored in the 20th minute, into the left corner of the net for CMU.
Skylar VanNatta was around the ball for most of the game on offense and defense.
She started many offensive possessions after stoppages, and her role of charging at the shooter in the penalty corner was crucial in the last seconds of regulation.
Ohio earned a penalty corner in the last possession before overtime, and VanNatta ran at the player with the ball and broke up the play.
Freese said VanNatta and Brittany Burga were very aggressive to the ball Friday.
If CMU would have lost, a play in the 64th minute would have made the Chippewas cringe for a while, with their conference title hopes on the line.
Senior Erin Dye used her skills, which have gotten her a team-high eight goals, to navigate past the goalkeeper, but missed the shot with other defenders nearby.
CMU welcomes No. 20 Michigan State to the Field Hockey Complex at 1 p.m. Sunday. On Oct. 27, they finish the MAC schedule by hosting Kent State, tied for first in the conference.