Soccer season ends with disappointing loss to BGSU in MAC Tournament semifinal

Bowling Green players celebrate their second goal scored against Kent State during the MAC Tournament Semifinals Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. 

Cameron Hoover

Senior forward Hayden Pascoe fought back tears as she hugged her teammates after her last game she’d ever play in a Kent State uniform.

The Flashes lost the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals to Bowling Green, 2-1. Pascoe’s header off a cross from Kristen Brots in the 80th minute gave the team a chance, but the Flashes couldn’t score on their final shot of the game five minutes later.

“I really thought, when we scored, we were going to get another one, just because the momentum was good for us,” Pascoe said. “I know our team can fight for a whole 90 minutes, and we did until that buzzer beeped.”

Bowling Green took a 2-0 lead in the 71st minute after a free kick slipped through Kent State goalkeeper Ashleah McDonald’s hands.

“They created some opportunities that they finished,” coach Rob Marinaro said. “I felt that we had the majority of the game, but we just couldn’t crack their defense today. They battled very hard, so you’ve got to give a lot of credit to Bowling Green.”

The Flashes outshot Bowling Green 15-9, and they were fouled seven times to the Falcons’ 23.

Bowling Green also beat Kent State, 3-1, on Oct. 22. Of the nine goals the Flashes allowed during conference play, five were scored by the Falcons.

“I thought we performed a whole lot better this time around,” Marinaro said. “We’ve got to give tons of credit to our team for battling back after going down and still showing the championship mentality of fighting and not quitting until the very end. That’s something I’m extremely proud of.”

Kent State entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and won the conference tournament last season.

“Losing is not something we expect or enjoy,” Marinaro said. “I think that’s why it hurts so much. The seniors have left us with an expectation to be a championship-caliber team. It’s something we’ll continue to build on. Our senior class has led us on and off the field with class and the dignity that student-athletes should carry themselves with.”

Freshman Vital Kats ended the season with the most goals for Kent State with six, and senior midfielder Brots led the team with six assists. Junior defender Paige Culver finished with the most minutes played with 1,930. 

Six Flashes earned postseason all-conference honors. Culver was named defender of the year, and Kats was named the league’s top freshman. Sophomore defender Sierra Henderson-Muschett joined Culver on the All-MAC First Team; seniors Eiben and Brots finished their career on the All-MAC Second Team; and Kats and Isabelle Mihail earned recognition on the MAC All-Freshman Team.

Freshmen scored 16 of the team’s 26 goals this season.

“They learn from the experience,” Marinaro said. “This one hurts, and they’re extremely disappointed. Hopefully this motivates them to strive for even more next year.”

Pascoe said the Flashes would be back.

“They’re going to be absolutely fine with our coaches and the leadership they have,” she said. “The past few years we’ve worked so hard to keep having winning seasons and high expectations for the team. They know what to expect and how hard they need to work.”

The Flashes finished the season at 13-6-2, including 9-2-0 in the conference.

Bowling Green will move on to play Toledo in the MAC Championship at 1 p.m. Sunday at Dix Stadium.

Cameron Hoover is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].