Field Hockey Bears Announce 2012 Schedule
April 27, 2012
Missouri State field hockey head coach Gabby Gomez Sosa announced the completion of her squad’s 2012 schedule. The Bears will see some new competition this season and will host four home matches at Plaster Field. After finishing the 2011 season with the most wins in the program since 2004, MSU field hockey is looking to make an even bigger statement this season.
“There were a lot of games last year when we were knocking on the door”, said Gomez Sosa, “Now we just need to open the door and take advantage of those opportunities.”
The Bears will spend their first ten matches of the season on the road. MSU will kick-off the season by traveling to Richmond, Va. to take on Virginia Commonwealth (Aug. 24) and Siena (Aug. 25). With the addition of three Virginia natives (Kimberleigh Eng, Olivia Nicotera, and Jessi Pope), a few of the Bears will have the opportunity to head to their home state.
MSU treks to Bloomington, Ind. (Aug. 31) and Iowa City, Iowa (Sept. 2) to face-off against the Hoosiers and the Hawkeyes. The two respectable Big 10 programs will help the Bears prepare for conference, as well as add a little more insight to the team’s new look for the 2012 season.
“We played both of these teams last season”, said Gomez Sosa, “Playing them again will hopefully show the improvement we’ve made since last season.”
The Bears then head back to play some in-state competition in St. Louis. The squad will take on the Saint Louis Billikens on Sept. 7 and the Georgetown Hoyas on Sept. 8 at Anheuser-Busch Center. MSU faces two new opponents this season with matches against Albany and California. Instead of traveling to the east and west coasts, the Bears will be meeting their opponents in the middle. The match against Albany will take place in Iowa City, Iowa (Sept. 14), while the match against California will take place in Bloomington, Ind. (Sept. 16).
“I expect good hockey in those matches”, said Gomez Sosa, “I’m very happy that we have a chance to play teams like California just a couple of hours away.” MSU field hockey assistant coach Erika Dombkowski added, “These are teams that don’t care who they play, they’re going to play at the top of their game.”
The Bears see their first Mid-American Conference rival on Sept. 22, taking on Ball State in Muncie, Ind. Traveling just a bit further to Columbus, Ohio, MSU will face non-conference Ohio State on Sept. 23. The field hockey Bears host their first home match of the 2012 season on Sept. 29, taking on conference adversary Miami (Ohio).
“Our home games are important since every game counts in conference”, said Gomez Sosa, “We want to be in the post season tournament, so home games are a must win.”
MSU hits the road again on Sept. 30 to take on non-conference competitor Liberty. The Bears will play the match against the Flames at a neutral site in St. Louis, Mo. The squad returns home the following week to matchup against conference foe Central Michigan at Plaster Field on Oct. 6. The Bears come into the match with a bit of a chip on their shoulder as Central Michigan has been the team to knock them out of the first round of the MAC tournament the past two seasons.
“We have some unfinished business with this team”, said Domkowski, “It’s going to be a very mental game.”
The Bears delve into the last leg of conference play heading to Athens, Ohio to face Ohio University on Oct. 13, only to return home to take on Kent State at Plaster Stadium on Oct. 19. The squad’s final two matches before the MAC Tournament will be against non-conference Northwestern and Saint Louis. The Bears will travel to Evanston, Ill. to take on the Northwestern Wildcats on Oct. 21, then returning home to host the Saint Louis Billikens in their second matchup of the season.
“Northwestern is a good team that is known for being more aggressive”, said Gomez Sosa, “The physical play will be a good experience heading into the conference tournament.”
The field hockey Bears hope to then head to the MAC Championships on Nov. 2-3 in Miami, Ohio. The Bears have their sights set higher than just a conference championship, perhaps an NCAA post season tournament berth.
“Our goal is past conference”, said Dombkowski, “We’ve hit a level of consistency and our team is close knit.”
“We’ve improved greatly this spring”, said Gomez Sosa, “The incoming class will continue to help our returners on this new path we’ve been working towards.”