The Mid-American Conference history books are consistent. Kent State has dominated the women’s conference championship in the past, but there is another team on the rise behind the Golden Flashes.
For the past eight years, Eastern Michigan head coach Sandy Wagner has been delivering an equally consistent message to her players.
“Ever since I took this job eight years ago, I’ve been preaching to the kids that this will one day be a top-50 program,” Wagner said.
It’s getting closer.
Eastern Michigan returned this fall after what Wagner calls one of the best seasons in program history. The Eagles won three times in the 2011-12 season, and earned runner-up honors twice more. The only difference this fall was that all five players never combined on the same day to put up a winning team score. Wagner has worked hard to get her players thinking about their respective roles on the team. Eastern Michigan lost only one player at the end of last season, so there is familiarity on this roster.
As Eastern Michigan is on the rise, so is the rest of the Mid-American Conference. Together with Wagner’s goal to find a spot in the top 50 – which likely would get the Eagles into postseason play without having to depend on the automatic qualifier that comes with winning the conference championship – is the aim to disrupt Kent State’s long streak of Mid-American titles.
“They’ve got a target on their back,” Wagner said of Kent State.
In the meantime, Eastern Michigan embarks on the second half of its schedule, which includes team-favorite stops at the Red Rocks Invitational and Rio Verde Invitational. The Eagles have seen every tournament venue on their spring schedule except one: the Jim West Challenge in Blanco, Texas. It’s more familiarity for this team. Perhaps it could start a familiar streak of its own on the pages of the Mid-American Conference record books.
• • •
Where is stands now
Top of the class: Kent State
Best player in the fall: Josee Doyon, Kent State
• • •
2008: Kent State
2009: Kent State
2010: Kent State
2011: Kent State
2012: Kent State
• • •