The field hockey team was eliminated a round before the Mid-American Conference Championship game by Kent State for the third-straight season Friday in Oxford, Ohio.
Central Michigan’s failure to keep the conference’s leading-scorer in check resulted in a 3-2 loss.
Sophomore Julia Hofmann scored the game-winner for KSU in the 60th minute off a penalty corner.
Her first goal, a shot that bounced off a CMU player, gave KSU its first lead of the game in the 29th minute, 2-1.
“She’s got my vote for player of the year in the conference,” head coach Cristy Freese said. “She’s just that kind of player.”
CMU challenged first offensively. Sophomore Mary Alice Moore was the first to take a shot, which went left of the net.
Sophomore Cayleigh Immelman was more accurate, giving the Chippewas the 1-0 lead in the 9th minute.
“We were really excited, really pumped,” junior Erica Garwood said. “We knew what we needed to do, and it was to score, because last weekend, when we played them, we couldn’t score.”
It was the first goal by CMU in the previous 214 minutes of play, going back to its game against Michigan State on Oct. 21.
But one minute later, the Golden Flashes responded with a goal.
“It certainly gave our team confidence, getting on the board first,” Freese said. “But Kent (State) was able to answer everything, and we were not able to sit on that first lead very long.”
Garwood, the team’s third-leading scorer, tied the game at 2-2 in the 40th minute.
“Even though we did score against them today, we needed more from our offense,” Garwood said. “It just didn’t work out the way we wanted it.”
In the middle of the second half, Hofmann had a chance to score, but it went off the goalpost. Her game-winning goal was her 16th of the season.
Freese had high hopes for this year’s team since the beginning of the 2011 season. She said, despite being without a conference championship, the team improved in consistency.
“We definitely took a step forward this year,” Freese said. “But I think, at the end of the day, we have to score more goals against the tough competition.”