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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Soccer falls in MAC championship, ending playoff run

Brittany Lucia
Kent State’s soccer team faces Northern Illinois on Oct. 15, 2023.

After defeating Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan, two teams the Kent State soccer team previously lost to, in the opening rounds of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, the Flashes set their eyes on Ohio University – looking to capture their second Mid-American Conference Tournament title in program history.

On Sept. 21, KSU defeated the Bobcats 1-0 in Athens. But Sunday in Kalamazoo, Michigan, OU got its revenge and won the title 2-1. 

The Bobcats earned the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth and their first tournament championship.

Junior forward Alisa Arthur helped the Flashes jump out to an early lead in the third minute, when she found MAC All-Freshman selection Alanna Raimando in the penalty box, who put a shot past the Bobcats keeper.

The Flashes continued their four-game streak of scoring first, taking a 1-0 lead.

Arthur finished the season as a First-Team All-MAC selection while leading the Flashes in goals and assists with ten and six, respectively.

Kent State retained the 1-0 lead into halftime behind graduate student Sarah Melén, who had eight saves on the day – including six in the first half.

Ohio came out of the halftime break aggressively, scoring an equalizer in the 55th minute, which tied the game at 1-1 

The Bobcats continued the momentum to score a go-ahead goal in the 64th minute. The score was then 2-1 – the first time in four games allowing multiple goals. 

Down by one point with 25 minutes remaining, the Flashes tried to pick up their offense and attack quickly. Ohio stood strong for the time remaining to capture its first conference championship in program history. 

With the victory, the Bobcats earned an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, which begins Friday.

Arthur, senior forward Callie Cunningham and junior midfielder Siena Stambolich each made the MAC All-Tournament team, while Kent State ended the season with a 12-7-2 record overall.

Arthur’s 10 goals were fourth most in the MAC, and she led the conference in shots (61), shots on goal (32) and game-winning goals (6).

Sophomore defender Kelsey Salopek and Arthur were named All-MAC First Team members. 

Melén’s 102 saves were a career-high and second most in the MAC. 

As a team, KSU scored the third most goals (32) and allowed the sixth most goals (26).

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

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