Women’s soccer secures 10th win of season at Northern Illinois

Kent+State+senior+forward+Hayden+Pascoe+attempts+a+pass+during+the+first+half+against+University+of+Pittsburgh+Thursday%2C+Sep.+7%2C+2017.

Carter Adams

Kent State senior forward Hayden Pascoe attempts a pass during the first half against University of Pittsburgh Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017.

Cameron Hoover

On Sept. 7, senior forward and midfielder Donavan Capehart limped off the field after a heavy challenge from a University of Pittsburgh defender.

In her third game back since returning from her month-long injury, Capehart scored the deciding goal off a Hayden Pascoe assist to push the Kent State women’s soccer team to another vital road win, 1-0 over Northern Illinois.

The Flashes (10-4-1, 6-1-0 Mid-American Conference) took the lead in the 26th minute. Senior forward Pascoe received the ball off of a missed Northern Illinois clearance on the right side before hitting a cross to the near post, where Capehart slotted her first goal of the season past Northern Illinois’ freshman goalkeeper Megan Donnally.

“It feels good, getting the first goal of the season against them,” Capehart said. “It was a great ball by Hayden. It was great work, and it felt nice to finally get one.”

Pascoe’s assist was her third of the season, her first since assisting Vital Kats’ game-winner against Dayton on Sept. 10.

Coach Rob Marinaro saw Capehart’s first goal since her return as a jumpstart for the whole team.

“She’s one of our team leaders,” Marinaro said. “Just the inspiration she gives everybody — it’s a great shot in the arm for us. She’s a wonderful player that gives us a lot of energy and focus. Today she got the opportunity to finish one for us, but it was an excellent team effort all around.”

Capehart said even though she missed the thrill of being out on the field with her teammates, she appreciated most of her time on the sidelines due to injury.

“It was tough at first, but it got so much easier,” she said. “This team makes everything so much easier. They’re all so positive. It was a lot of fun, I’m not going to lie. I got close to my team, and it was great to be able to sit there and watch what we do well. It’s different watching versus playing. You see more when you’re watching. I kind of enjoyed it.”

The win is Kent State’s sixth in seven games. The Flashes remain at the top of the MAC East division, a few games ahead of Ohio University, who are 4-2-1 in the conference.

The Flashes are now 4-3-1 on the road this season, including 3-1 against conference opponents.

“It puts us in such a great position,” Capehart said. “Winning on the road is such a difficult thing to do.”

Marinaro highlighted the Flashes’ defensive performance as a strong suit, especially during the team’s conference road games.

“It builds a lot of confidence, getting some momentum going,” Marinaro said. “The team is learning how to win. These opportunities on the road are really difficult. We’re figuring it out and pulling out the 1-0 wins. Defensively, we build confidence off of the way we defend leads. It’s really special.”

The Flashes have recorded shutouts in five of their seven conference matchups, including three in four road games. Northern Illinois only managed two of their 12 shots on goal, both of which were saved by senior goalkeeper Katie Kingsbury.

Kingsbury picked up her second shutout of the season in her first appearance since the Flashes’ 1-0 Senior Day win over Dayton. The shutout was her first since the 4-0 win over St. Bonaventure on Aug. 27.

Capehart’s energy was apparent after the game as she showed her excitement for the team going forward.

“The fact that we’ve won on the road twice in a row now is awesome,” Capehart said. “We’re going to be ready to take on Western Michigan. We’re looking forward to it.”

The Flashes play Western Michigan next at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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