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One year in the making – soccer clinches home playoff game

Matthew Brown
The Kent State soccer team celebrates after junior Alisa Arthur scores the first goal of the game against CMU on Oct. 8, 2023. The Golden Flashes went on to win the game 3-1.

One year ago, Buffalo came into Dix Stadium and knocked Kent State’s soccer team out of the postseason with a 2-0 victory in the regular season finale.

Thursday, the Flashes traveled to Buffalo and returned the favor, ending the defending Mid-American Conference champions’ season with a 2-1 victory.

“They came out and responded really nicely,” coach Rob Marinaro said. “They showed that they are equipped to be in the playoffs.”

The Flashes improved to 10-6-2 overall and 7-4 in the conference.

KSU is one of three MAC teams to win 10 or more games this season, along with Western Michigan (12-3-3, 8-0-3) and Bowling Green (10-5-2). 

UB fell to 7-5-6 on the season and 4-4-3 in the conference. With the victory, the Flashes earned a home playoff game in the upcoming MAC Tournament, beginning Sunday against Northern Illinois.

The Flashes relied on their defense to get the job done against the Bulls despite the offense contributing two goals. 

Buffalo took 17 shots with 11 on goal, while Kent State took five and only three on goal. 

The Bulls also attempted seven corner kicks compared to the Flashes one. 

Graduate student goalkeeper Sarah Melén grabbed six saves on the day for Kent State.

Her 82 saves this season are the third most in the MAC.

“The defense is always something that we asked of them, especially on the road,” Marinaro said. “That was really the backbone that allowed us to get some opportunities and a couple of real nice finishes.”

The Flashes opened up the scoring when freshman forward Emma Barnett found fellow freshman forward Josie Morgan for a goal in the 37th minute. Kent State took that 1-0 lead into halftime. 

After the intermission, Buffalo came out firing, scoring an equalizer in the 53rd minute, tying the game 1-1. 

Both teams were then in a stalemate until the Flashes’ leading scoring, Alisa Arthur, stepped up. The junior forward scored an unassisted goal in the 70th minute, giving the Flashes a 2-1 lead securing the victory.

Arthur finished the regular season with eight goals – fifth most in the conference.

The Flashes will now look ahead to the matchup against Northern Illinois, kicking off at 1 p.m.

Earlier in the season, the Huskies defeated KSU 2-1, the first loss to NIU since 2013.

“It’s been playoffs all season long for us to pick up the points that we did,” Marinaro said. “For us, it’s another game and another great opportunity.”

Matthew Franos is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Matthew Brown, Photo Editor
Matthew is a junior photography major. He has a passion for photography and traveling. Contact him at [email protected].

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