Two first-half goals from freshman midfielder Maddy Humphrey propelled Ohio State field hockey to a 3-1 victory against the Kent State Golden Flashes Sunday afternoon.
Humphrey opened the scoring with a breakaway finish one-on-one with Kent State sophomore goalkeeper Andrea Rinehart just a little more than two minutes into the game at Buckeye Varsity Field.
Three minutes later, she struck again, scoring on a rebound from junior back Emma Royce’s penalty corner shot.
The early lead gave OSU (5-8, 0-4) the confidence to stay aggressive throughout the game against Kent State. Buckeye coach Anne Wilkinson said the team fed off the energy of Humphrey’s early goals.
“They’re not playing like they’re behind the eight ball,” Wilkinson said of her team playing from ahead. “You just see (freshman forward) Annabel Sams and (freshman midfielder) Morgan Kile taking off with speed, and their speed kills.”
OSU dominated in shots, 24-7, and penalty corners, 15-4, Sunday. It took Kent State (5-8) until the 17-minute mark of the second half for the Golden Flashes to pick up their first penalty corner opportunity.
With momentum appearing to swing toward Kent State, Wilkinson called a timeout to regroup with 15:27 left in the game while nursing a 2-0 lead.
Sams came out of the timeout and dribbled coast-to-coast to score an unassisted goal, giving OSU a 3-0 advantage.
“I think we were one today,” Sams said. “And that showed. I think we had good connections and once we got the ball, we were really an attacking force.”
Kent State got on the board with 11:52 remaining on a tip-in goal from senior forward Hannah Faulkner. The goal was Faulkner’s 10th of the season, but came too late in a game where OSU refused to give up possession.
Humphrey’s two goals gave her 11 for the season as a part of her 30 points total, which both lead the team. Humphrey said she was pleased with the performance, but added the team needs to convert more on its penalty corner opportunities.
“We unfortunately didn’t finish a lot of our corners today, which we’ll work on,” Humphrey said. “But just keep attacking and attacking (was) the mentality. They were getting frustrated and it kept pumping us up to shoot more.”
The Buckeyes’ Sunday triumph came two days after they fell in a conference matchup.
OSU couldn’t manage to get its first Big Ten victory Friday in Piscataway, N.J., against conference newcomer Rutgers.
The Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights were tied at halftime, 1-1, when Rutgers (6-7, 1-4) went on a quick scoring spurt to put OSU away.
Redshirt-sophomore midfielder Alyssa Bull took a cross in front of the cage from sophomore forward Rachel Yaney and finished to give Rutgers a 2-1 lead.
Five minutes later, junior forward Katie Champion put the game out of reach, scoring on an assist from sophomore forward Jasmine Cole.
OSU added a late goal from Royce, but ultimately fell, 3-2.
Wilkinson said the team has to be more physical if they want to make a late run in the Big Ten Tournament in November.
OSU is set to face Indiana on Friday in Bloomington, Ind., at 3 p.m. before taking on Iowa on Sunday at Buckeye Varsity Field at noon.