Bell Leads Kent State Past Northwestern 2-1 In Overtime
Golden Flashes sweep first weekend of the season
EVANSTON, Ill. — Junior Debbie Bell (Hamilton, New Zealand / Waikato) scored 10 minutes into the overtime period to give the Kent State field hockey team a 2-1 victory over host Northwestern earlier today at Lakeside Field. The non-conference win improves the Golden Flashes to 7-5 overall and gives the team its first weekend sweep of the season.
"After just wrapping up a six-game home stand last weekend it was great for us to go on the road and earn two hard fought wins this week," said Kent State Head Coach Kathleen (Schanne) Wiler, whose team also won 2-0 at Central Michigan on Friday.
Tied at 1-1, Bell took a breakaway feed from freshman Rebecca Lee (Bathurst, Australia/The Scots School) and scored the game winner through the legs of the drawn out goalie to end a six game winning streak for the Wildcats which fell to 8-4 on the year. Bell also scored Kent State's first goal of the game in the 21st minute and leads the team with eight goals this season.
At first sight it appeared the Golden Flashes won the game in the 75th minute, but a would-be game-winner by senior Nicole Leach (San Diego, Calif./Mira Mesa) was called back.
"I though our team responded well and continued to battle," said Wiler. "It can be tough emotionally for a team to keep fighting after it appears to have won the game, but we did a tremendous job of digging in and kept right on going."
The Golden Flashes dominated play throughout the first half holding an 8-1 edge in shots taken and a 4-1 advantage in penalty corners. Despite the aggressive attack Kent State was not able to find the back of the cage until Bell capitalized on a the penalty shot.
Both teams had three corners and five shots apiece in the second half, but it was Northwestern that posted the lone score. The Wildcats tied the game at 55:19 when Maria Kovalchuk's backhanded shot from eight-yards out deflected in off the pads of Kent State goalie Caroline Suitch (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood).
The Golden Flashes had a chance to win it in the closing minutes of regulation but NU goalie Amanda Wirth saved a pair of shots from junior Carla Johl (Hamilton, New Zealand / Waikato) in the 64th minute. Like it did at the start of the game Kent State controlled overtime. Paced by three shots from Bell, KSU out shot NU 4-1 in the extra session.
"We were really effective defensively," said Wiler. "We fought hard and held them to just five corners in over 80 minutes of play."
Shot attempts ended at 17-17 in favor of the Golden Flashes, which also led penalty corners by a 9-5 margin. The game was the longest for KSU since a 4-3 double-overtime win at Albany on Sept. 21, 2008 that lasted 89:25. The Golden Flashes are 2-1 in overtime this season.
Kent State is back at home on Friday, October 8th against Ohio at 1:00 p.m. and on Sunday, October 10th against Missouri State at 1:00 p.m.