Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Regular Season MAC Title On the Line against Kent State

MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan field hockey team will be playing for its first Mid-American Conference Regular Season Championship since 2002 on Saturday when it welcomes co-MAC leader Kent State to Mount Pleasant, and will host No. 14 Michigan on Senior Day Sunday.

Just one week after honoring the 2002 MAC Championship team during Homecoming weekend, the 2012 Chippewas will look to make their own spot in CMU field hockey history by going for the MAC Regular Season Championship and, if co-leader Miami (OH) loses its match to Ohio, the first overall seed in the MAC Tournament. See the full list of scenarios below.

A win over Kent State would not only give the Chippewas at least a share of the regular season MAC Championship, but would also be the first win for the current seniors against the Golden Flashes. They are 0-8 in their careers in the series.

The CMU-Kent State matchup will be a matchup between one of the premier defensive teams in the conference in CMU and one of the top offensive teams in Kent State.

Central Michigan enters with one of the top defenses in the conference, as it is one of just three teams who have allowed fewer than 40 goals on the season with 39. With two goal scorers among the top nine in the MAC (Erin Dye third with eight and Bailey McKeon sixth with seven) and seven players from all areas of the field with multiple goals, the Chippewas are a well-balanced, opportunistic offense.

The Golden Flashes enter the weekend as one of the more prolific offenses in the conference, ranking second with 2.42 goals per game and 46 in total and first in assists with 2.11 per match. However, the Kent State defense has shown vulnerability at times this season, having allowed 86 goals on the season.

Weekend Schedule

Vs. Kent State (7-12, 3-1 MAC; RPI 50)
CMU Field Hockey Complex | Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Saturday, Oct. 27 | 12 p.m.
Follow: Live Stats | Twitter
Promotions: Stick it to Cancer Day - Saturday's match will be Stick It To Cancer day in support of the Chips for a Cure initiative. Players will be wearing pink warm-up shirts and pink socks throughout the match in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink "AllFight" T-shirts will be available for sale, with the proceeds going to the Angel Wings Fund to support children who have lost parents to cancer. Fans can also support the team's breast cancer awareness efforts by donating to the National Foundation for Cancer Research. [Full release]

Vs. No. 14 Michigan (11-5; RPI 15)
CMU Field Hockey Complex | Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Sunday, Oct. 28 | 1 p.m.
Follow: Live Stats | Twitter
Promotions: Senior Day - The Chippewas' five seniors will be recognized prior to their final home game in their CMU careers.

MAC Tournament Seeding Scenarios

In accordance with football game day procedures, lot 61 behind Rose Hall/McGuirk Arena will be closed for Friday's soccer match against Akron. Spectators should park in lot 71, which is the grass/dirt lot across from Theunissen Stadium on West Campus Drive. Parking will be free, and the lot opens at 10:30 a.m. For more details, please consult this parking map.

MAC Tournament Seeding Scenarios

No. 1 Seed if:
WIN vs. Kent State AND LOSS by Miami (OH) vs. Ohio

No. 2 Seed if:
WIN vs. Kent State AND WIN by Miami (OH) vs. Ohio

No. 3 Seed if:
LOSS vs. Kent State

By the Numbers

Team    Kent State   CMU    No. 14 Michigan   
  1-8 Away 
  1-3 Home  
3-2 Away
RPI 50 51 15

Goals Scored/
Goals Allowed

46/86 31/39 48/28

152/237 116/191 154/228

Opp. SOG/Shots
236/342 114/208 121/182

Corners Taken/
Corners Allowed
134/157 88/123 91/93

Penalty Strokes
0-0 3-4

Red Cards


Scouting Kent State

Season Statistics

The Golden Flashes' conference schedule has gone very similarly to the Chippewas' in 2012. Both teams claimed 2-1 overtime victories over Ohio, both earned two-goal shootout wins over Ball State, and both teams fell to Miami, 4-1. Most recently Kent State took down Missouri State 4-3 in double overtime. The Golden Flashes are rebounding from a midseason slump during which they went 0-4 and were outscored 29-4, and have gone 2-2 since with two conference wins.

Kent State has cumulatively scored 22 goals in both the first and second half this season, but has surrendered significantly more goals in the second half, 47-39.

MAC total points and goals leader Julia Hofmann, a sophomore midfielder, leads the Golden Flashes with 14 goals and 30 points and is constantly applying pressure with 70 total shots. She forms a formidable one-two punch with junior midfielder Rebecca Lee, who is third in points in the MAC with 21. She has scored eight goals and tallied five assists.

History Against Kent State
The Chippewas are 13-48 against the Golden Flashes all-time, and a win on Saturday would be the first against Kent State for the senior class, which has gone 0-8 in their career against the MAC foe. Central Michigan has bowed out of the MAC Tournament at the hands of Kent State in each of the past two seasons. The Chippewas last win against the Golden Flashes was a 4-1 decision at Kent State in 2007.

Scouting No. 14 Michigan

Season Statistics

The Wolverines have won four in a row as they enter this weekend 11-5 overall. After starting 0-2 against current No. 1 North Carolina and Wake Forest to open the season, Michigan has won 11 of its last 14 matches and has outscored its opponents 46-21 in that stretch. In terms of scoring offense/defense they play equally strong in both halves, claiming cumulative advantages of 20-13 and 26-15 respectively, but opponents generate more scoring opportunities in the second half. Opponents in the second halves of Michigan's matches take 108 shots and 57 corners, up significantly from first-half totals of 72 and 35, respectively.

Junior forward Rachael Mack, who is among the nation's best players, has scored 17 goals and dished out seven assists for a total of 41 points. Sophomore back Leslie Smith and freshman back Aisling Naughton have each scored seven goals apiece, while Smith has added 10 assists. Senior forward Liesl Morris has also distributed 10 assists. Junior goalkeeper Haley Jones has earned three shutouts and has a goals against average of 1.71.

History Against Michigan
The Wolverines lead the all-time series between the two teams 29-16-2, and the current seniors are 1-2 against their in-state foes from Ann Arbor. The Chippewas defeated Michigan in a shutout 1-0 win in 2009, which was also the last time the Wolverines made the trip to Mount Pleasant. Current seniors Erin Dye, Emily Girasole and Brittany Burga each started that match.

Weekend Notes

VanNatta Earns MAC Offensive Player of the Week
Junior midfielder/back Skylar VanNatta earned MAC Offensive Player of the Week honors after assisting on the game-winning goal in a 2-1 OT win against Ohio on Friday, and scoring the overtime-forcing goal against No. 20 Michigan State on Sunday in a 2-1 OT loss. She is the second CMU player to earn the award in 2012, joining Erin Dye.

Defensive Domination
The Chippewas are one of the best defensive teams in the conference. They are one of only three teams that have allowed fewer than 40 total goals this season, while senior goalkeeper Anastasia Netto, in addition to freshman keeper Sadie Reynolds for one match, have faced the second-fewest number of saves and have the second-lowest saves per game average in the conference - a testament to the strong defensive back line for the Chippewas. Netto is one of just two MAC goalkeepers with multiple shutouts under her belt, having tended the cage for two this season.

Penalty Corner Prowess
The CMU penalty corner defense stopped end-of-regulation penalty corner scoring opportunities in both of their games against Ohio and Michigan State this past weekend to send both matches into overtime. The Chippewas also scored their game-winning overtime goal against Ohio on a penalty corner.

Among the MAC Elite
Senior midfielder Erin Dye has scored eight goals, good for third in the MAC. Junior forward Bailey McKeon's three game-winning goals ranks second in the conference, and junior Erica Garwood's and sophomore forward Cayleigh Immelman's five assists apiece are sixth in the league. Senior goalkeeper Anastasia Netto's two shutouts are second in the league.