Kent State Sports Report: Field hockey team ends memorable season in MAC tourney semifinals

By Allen Moff | Staff writer Published:

Top-seeded Kent State (8-11) fell to fourth-seeded Central Michigan (7-11) 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Field Hockey Tournament semifinals on Friday in Oxford.

The Golden Flashes started the game on top after Karleigh Carlin scored off a penalty corner with an assist from Julia Hofmann 29 minutes into the game. They had two other goals in the opening 35 minutes that were called off by the officials.

The Chippewas scored their three goals in the second half, two coming on penalty corners.

Kent State outshot Central Michigan 13-11 and had a 9-6 edge in penalty corners.

Flashes backs Sabrina Binder and Susanne Felder were named to the 2013 MAC All-Tournament Team.

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Field hockey mentor Kathleen Wiler was named MAC Coach of the Year for the third time after leading the Flashes to the regular-season MAC title, while Hofmann, Hannah Faulkner and Rebecca Lee were named First Team All-MAC.

Wiler, who completed her eighth season at the helm for Kent State, led the Flashes to an outright 2013 regular-season championship after being predicted to finish in fourth place in the preseason conference poll.

Hofmann was a First Team choice for the second consecutive year. She finished the regular season as the MAC leader in shots, shots per game, points and assists, and second in points per game, goals and goals per game.

Lee was honored by the MAC for the third consecutive year. The senior ranked second in the conference in shots and shots per game and is fifth in points and points per game.

Faulkner was named to the All-MAC First Team for the first time after garnering Second Team honors a year ago. She ranked third in points per game and fourth in points, goals and goals per game during the regular season.

Madison Thompson was a Second Team All-MAC choice after registering 15 points on the season. In conference-only stats, she tied for first in the MAC in points, points per game, goals and goals per game.

The Flashes have now had at least three players earn All-MAC recognition every season for the past 17 years.

WOMEN'S SOCCER

Five Kent State players earned All-MAC honors in 2013.

Senior Morgan Mah was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year and was also a First Team All-MAC honoree, while rookie Jenna Hellstrom earned Freshman of the Year accolades and a spot on the All-Freshman Team. Senior standout Jessacca Gironda was a First Team All-MAC selection, while Brittany Maisano and Abbie Lawson received All-MAC Freshman Team plaudits.

"I am very proud of our program, and it is wonderful to see our student-athletes receive the recognition in postseason awards," said KSU coach Rob Marinaro, whose squad finished the season 12-7-1. "It is a tremendous accomplishment and great recognition for the entire program."

Earning Kent State's first Defensive Player of the Year award, Mah helped lead the defense to seven shutouts this season. The Flashes ranked third in the MAC in goals-against average (0.98).

Hellstrom finished the year second on the team in scoring with 15 points on five goals and five assists, and is just the second player in KSU history to earn Freshman of the Year honors. She tallied three game-winning goals.

Gironda led the MAC and her squad in scoring with 33 points on 14 goals and five assists, and moved to the top of the Kent State record books in several categories. The Akron native now holds the Kent State record for goals in a career (31) and points in a career (78), and her seven game-winning goals ranks third overall.

Maisano started all 20 games as a defender during her rookie campaign. She helped lead a KSU defense that allowed just 20 goals on the year.

Lawson started 19 games this season and finished with a pair of assists.

FOOTBALL

Kent State sophomore defensive back Jordan Italiano was named to the Capital One Academic All-District 5 First Team. A chemistry/pre-med major, Italiano carries a 3.94 cumulative grade-point average.

Italiano has started all 10 games this season at the star (hybrid defensive back/linebacker) spot. He leads the Flashes with 37 solo tackles and ranks second on the team with 69 total tackles. He has forced two fumbles and has a pair of tackles for loss.

VOLLEYBALL

Kent State (12-15, 6-8 MAC) entered the weekend with an opportunity to clinch a spot in the MAC Tournament, but instead saw its road woes continue as it dropped matches at Bowling Green and Miami. The Flashes have now lost four straight matches away from the M.A.C. Center.

The Flashes fell to the Falcons 3-1 (21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 22-25) on Saturday.

Senior Aleksandra Nowak recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 46 assists and 12 digs. Junior Liz Reikow had a team-high 13 kills and Lauren Engleman added 12 to reach double-figures for the fourth consecutive match. Senior Hannah Herc had 19 digs to move into third on the Flashes' all-time list (1,245).

On Friday, Kent State dropped a 3-1 decision at Miami (23-25, 18-25, 28-26, 21-25).

Engleman had a career night, totaling 17 kills and 20 points, while Reikow had 13 kills, Nowak piled up 43 assists, and Kaylee Koller had 28 digs.

After a road match at Ohio on Thursday, the Flashes will close the regular season by hosting Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

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Volleyball sophomore Bridget Wilhelm was named MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week last week. She posted 2.7 points per set and had a team-best .415 attack percentage to help Kent State to a pair of conference wins over Buffalo and Akron.

Wilhelm is one of just two MAC East players to receive the honor multiple times this season. She was previously recognized by the conference on Sept. 23 after leading Kent State to a 3-0 record at the Golden Flashes Classic.

WRESTLING

Sophomore 184-pounder Sam Wheeler went 3-0 Sunday during the Hokie Duals, and four other wrestlers finished 2-1 as the Flashes dropped three duals at the Salem Civic Center. The Flashes split 10 matches with host Virginia Tech, resulting in an 18-18 tie, but by the NCAA's third criteria tiebreaking rule (most total points scored in decisions) the Hokies received an additional point and the win.

No. 8 Virginia Tech and Kent State each claimed four decisions and one pin in the day's opening dual. But when heavyweight Ty Walz defeated redshirt freshman Mimmo Lytle, he gave the Hokies a seven-point edge in the eight matches that resulted in decisions.

Rider then handed the Flashes an 18-14 setback by winning 6-of-10 matches, before No. 14 Virginia downed Kent State 29-12.

Rider led 15-14 heading into the final match as Greg Velasco topped Lytle 3-1.

Wheeler's perfect day included a pair of 7-6 victories, while sophomore 133-pounder Mack McGuire, sophomore 157-pounder Ian Miller, junior 174-pounder Caleb Marsh and sophomore Cole Baxter all went 2-1.

Baxter made his first appearance in a college dual an impressive one, as he defeated Virginia Tech's Chris Penny 7-5 and pinned Virginia's Patrick Gillen in the first period.

McGuire upset No. 17 Eric Spjut of Virginia Tech 7-4, and Marsh knocked off No. 19 Austin Gabel of Virginia Tech 6-4. Miller collected a second-period pin and a 23-8 tech fall.

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