Bears Open 2014 Season at Monmouth; Picked 7th in Poll
Aug. 25, 2014
MAC Preseason Poll | Season Preview Video | Follow @MSUBearsFHockey
CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Missouri State field hockey team has been picked to finish seventh in the Mid-American Conference, according to a poll of the conference’s head coaches released Monday, Aug. 25.
The Bears return 12 players from last season, with 312 combined games played between 11 returners during their careers.
“We have a large class of juniors so we have a lot of returners that know their role, know what they need to do and are experienced,” MSU head coach Gabby Gomez Sosa said. “Our freshman class is really bringing a lot to our team. We’re pretty much covered in all three portions of the field because we have freshmen that will be able to make an impact right away on offense, and our midfield and backline is getting a lot stronger with this group of incoming freshmen.”
Following a MAC championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2013 despite entering the MAC tournament as a three-seed, Miami (OH) comes into this season tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the MAC title. The Redhawks received two first place votes and were followed by Kent State, which also received two first-place votes.
Central Michigan, Ohio and Longwood were voted to finish third, fourth and fifth, respectively, and each earned a first-place vote.
Rounding out the conference poll, Ball State was selected sixth and Missouri State seventh. MSU picked up a vote for preseason MAC Tournament champion.
The Bears begin their 2014 season on the east coast, with a three-game swing beginning at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., on Friday, Aug. 29, at 11 a.m. MSU will play back-to-back days, taking on Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. on Saturday and finish its trip with an 11 a.m. matchup on Monday, Sept. 1, against the Villanova Wildcats.
“The schedule this year is a challenging one, but it’s easier traveling wise on the players,” coach Gomez Sosa said. “It’s much easier than earlier years. We get a chance to get a big trip out of the way and see how we perform.”
Among a group of juniors with 10 returners and one transfer, the Bears are led by captains Charlie Redhead and Liz Young. Redhead returns following a second team all-MAC selection last season, while Young started in 15 of 16 games in 2013 and finished as the team leader for defensive saves.
“In terms of leadership, it’s something we work on from the very beginning in their first year here,” Gomez Sosa said. “We talk about things they need to work on, having the right attitude and leading by example. Our juniors are very capable of fulfilling that role as good leaders even though they aren’t seniors.”
The top four teams in the regular season conference standings will compete for the Mid-American Conference Championship at Murphy-Mellis Field in Kent, Ohio, Nov. 7-8. The conference champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Field Hockey Tournament.
2014 Field Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll
(First place votes in parentheses)
1. Miami (2)
2. Kent State (2)
3. Central Michigan (1)
5. Longwood (1)
6. Ball State
7. Missouri State
MAC Tournament Champion: Miami (2), Kent State (2), Central Michigan (1), Missouri State (1).