Women’s soccer scores late winner against Western Michigan

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Kent State forward Cameron Shedenhelm heads the ball forward in the second period against the Akron Zips at Dix Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. The Flashes beat the Zips 3-0.

Cameron Hoover

Freshmen continued to power the Kent State women’s soccer team (11-4-1, 7-1-0 Mid-American Conference) Sunday, as the Flashes left a rainy Kalamazoo with a 1-0 road win at Western Michigan.

The victory was the Flashes’ fourth straight win and their third straight 1-0 win. The shutout was the team’s tenth of the season, more than any other team in the MAC. The team has also shut out their opponent in four consecutive matches, three of those coming on the road.

The win placed Kent State at the top of the MAC with 21 points. The postseason conference tournament determines seeding based on conference record, regardless of division. If the season were to end today, the Flashes would be the #1 seed and would have home field advantage throughout the postseason.

In the 82nd minute Sunday, Western Michigan goalkeeper Stephanie Heber came out to punch the ball out of the penalty box on a Kent State corner kick. Her clearance didn’t make it far enough, however, as the ball fell to freshman midfielder Rachel Ernst, who cleaned up the rebound.

The goal was Ernst’s second of the season, her first since another game winner against Eastern Michigan Sept. 24.

A freshman has now scored or assisted on eight of the Flashes’ 10 goals scored in conference play.

Kent State outshot Western Michigan 15-8, including a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Flashes also earned five corner kicks, including the one that allowed Ernst to seal the game.

Senior goalkeeper Katie Kingsbury earned her second straight shutout for the Flashes, her third for the season. Kingsbury has only allowed two goals in 450 minutes of game time this season.

Freshman midfielder Maddie Holmes led the way for the Flashes with three shots, her most of the season. Hayden Pascoe and Isabelle Mihail registered two shots each.

Sunday’s game wrapped up Kent State’s road schedule for the regular season, finishing at 5-3-1, including 4-1 in the MAC. The team allowed one goal on the road during conference play.

Coach Rob Marinaro’s “one game at a time” mantra will be evident as the Flashes train for their final three games of the season.

“For us, it’s all about that next game,” Marinaro said after Friday’s 1-0 win over Northern Illinois. “We’re not looking any further ahead than the first 10 minutes of our next game.”

The Flashes return home to Dix Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday against Toledo.

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