How do you stop a team from scoring? Have a defense that allows only three shots.
This is exactly what the field hockey team did Saturday afternoon when it beat Ball State, 1-0, to start Mid-American Conference play.
“Our team took what we worked on in practice this week and really did what we asked,” said head coach Cristy Freese. “More importantly, they played like we know we need to win a conference game. The defense played very well today. We always feel like we can score more goals.”
The Chippewas didn’t allow a single shot until the closing minutes of the first half and blanked the Cardinals on every penalty corner they received.
“I think Ball State does some nice things on penalty corners, but I think we were ready for it. I felt we scouted them well,” Freese said. “Skylar VanNatta was the key, but I think Anne Middledorp came up with a really big play. She tends to stay back too much and she played it correctly and came out. All those things were very important to limit the shots on penalty corners.”
The strong return of the defense should be a comforting sight. The Chippewas started strong with two wins, allowing only one goal, but then went into a tailspin, losing six straight and allowing 19 goals.
The team is on a two-game winning streak, with its stout defense going into the rest of conference play.
The Golden Flashes are tied with CMU atop the MAC standings as both teams opened MAC play with wins. KSU is coming off a 5-2 win against Missouri State, but followed it with a 3-1 non-conference loss against Northwestern of the Big Ten.
“There isn’t very much room for error,” Freese said. “This was a key game for us, because now we have won two in a row. Kent will always have confidence in themselves.”