MOUNT PLEASANT - Though the Central Michigan field hockey team’s hopes of its first Mid-American Conference Championship since 2002 ended Saturday with a hard-fought double-overtime loss to Kent State, an opportunity for its first MAC Tournament Title since 2005 begins, fittingly, with those same Golden Flashes on Friday.
The third-seeded Chippewas (7-11, 3-2 MAC) and the second-seeded regular season MAC Co-Champion Golden Flashes (8-12, 4-1 MAC) will square off for the second time in six days Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the MAC Tournament semifinals, held in Oxford, Ohio, on the campus of Miami (OH).
A Regular Season MAC Championship was on the line in their last meeting, and this time a spot in the MAC Tournament Championship match Saturday against either No.1 Miami or No. 4 Ohio is at stake. The winner of the final earns an opportunity to play the winner of the NorPac conference in an NCAA Tournament play-in match.
MAC Tournament Semifinals vs. No. 2 Kent State (8-12, 4-1 MAC)
MU Field Hockey Complex | Oxford, Ohio
Friday, Nov. 2 | 2:30 p.m.
Admission: $10 per day for adults for both soccer and field hockey games
$7 per day for youth for both soccer and field hockey games
Free admission for students with a valid MAC institution student ID
As it was on Saturday, Friday’s matchup will pit a strong CMU defense against a potent Kent State offense. The Chippewas, who lead the MAC with two shutouts on the season, held the Golden Flashes off the scoreboard for nearly 100 minutes and well below their season scoring average of 2.27. Senior goalkeeper Anastasia Netto kept the Kent State attack at bay with a season-high ten saves.
The senior class will be looking to break through and notch their first career victory over the Golden Flashes, against whom they are now 0-9 in their careers. They are getting close, as three of the past four matches have gone into overtime. Kent State also defeated CMU, 4-1, in last year’s semifinal match of the MAC Tournament.
When the Chippewas won their most recent MAC Tournament Title in 2005, they also had to go through Kent State in the semifinals. The 2005 team won that match, 2-0, after falling twice to the Golden Flashes in the regular season, and went on to defeat Miami in the Championship Match, 3-1.
In the past 245:03 of conference game time dating back to the beginning of a 4-0 shutout victory over Missouri State, the Chippewas have allowed just two goals while scoring six themselves.
The Chippewas have also performed well against ranked competition in the past two weekends. They limited No. 20 Michigan State to just two goals in a 2-1 overtime loss, and after allowing an early goal to No. 14 Michigan, kept the Wolverines scoreless for the following 65 minutes.
After being held off the scoreboard in their last two matches, the CMU offensive attack, led by senior midfielder Erin Dye with eight goals and junior Bailey McKeon with seven, will look to re-establish the form it showed at times earlier this season. Junior midfielder Erica Garwood and sophomore forward Cayleigh Immelman have each put in five assists apiece this season to fuel the attack.