SLIDESHOW: Team loses MAC Championship regular-season title in double-overtime
Senior goalkeeper Anastasia Netto laid her body out, used her glove and kicked the ball out of the circle countless times to make 10 saves deep into double overtime against Kent Sate at the Field Hockey Complex.
But it was not enough, as the Central Michigan field hockey team lost 1-0 Saturday in its regular season finale.
A ball rolling quickly to the left side of the net got by Netto in the 100th minute, which nullified a shutout and gave the Golden Flashes the victory.
“I think Anna (Netto) stepped up to the challenge,” head coach Cristy Freese said. “I think she always gets very motivated by playing Kent (State), because she knows that they are a very good offensive team, and she knows she’s going to see a lot of different shots.”
Without the help of the offense, CMU lost its shot at its third Mid-American Conference Championship in program history.
“They gave it their heart and soul,” Freese said. “We certainly had opportunities to win it, but that was the game.”
Freese said the team failed to expose the weakness of the Golden Flashes, which was their defense.
A pressuring KSU defense caused turnovers but also allowed breakaways as a result.
Junior forward/midfielder Abby Roth smacked a ball deep in CMU’s zone, and, after it ricocheted off multiple sticks, it rolled to the Chippewas breaking away from the Golden Flashes, but they failed on the opportunity in the 25th minute.
Sophomore forward Cayleigh Immelman maneuvered to get a clean shot at goal in the 82nd minute. It nearly went through the five hole but hit the right side of the goalie’s left leg and bounced out.
KSU came into the game ranked second in the conference in goals per game with 2.42. Northwestern was the only team to shutout KSU.
“We were up to the challenge,” Netto said. “We know that they’re a very strong offensive team.”
Netto said the Golden Flashes often lofted passes skyward, but that did not faze CMU as a result of Freese launching balls at the defense during practice.
There was a large crowd to see the team try to win a MAC Championship.
The 300 people who CMU said were in attendance were awed by one of Netto’s last saves of the game in double overtime.
A KSU player lifted a shot that was about shoulder-high, and Netto causally blocked it with her glove.
“I know she’s disappointed about that last goal, because we’re always talking about the short side,” head coach Cristy Freese. “But, you know, she played a great game. I’ll take that Anna any day of the week.”
Netto said she was not frustrated by the lack of help from the offense.
“I have all the faith in my team,” Netto said. “One-hundred percent faith in my offense; one-hundred percent faith in my defense. They know what they’re doing, and they’re working their butts off.”
The Chippewas also lost at home to Kent State in double overtime last season. Their last three games, which they have a 1-2 record in, all needed extra minutes to decide the victor.
“I’m going to spend the entire spring season practicing overtime,” Freese said. “You always think about the 70 minutes; why would you practice overtime? But I think in the spring, maybe, we’ll practice overtime.”