Kent women’s soccer wins Wagon Wheel


Briana Bartolone, senior, steals the ball away in the game against the Akron Zips at Cub Cadet Field on Friday Sept 25, 2015.

Dan Armelli

The Kent State women’s soccer team (5-3-2, 1-1) split its first two MAC games of the season with a win against rival Akron (4-5-1, 1-1) on Friday and a loss in Buffalo (5-4-1, 1-1) on Sunday.

For the third time in four games on Friday, the Flashes gave up the first goal of the game to Akron’s junior forward Karin Norman in the seventeenth minute.

Freshman defender Paige Culver said playing from behind is not the team’s objective.

“We came out wanting to get in front in the first place no matter what, but as a team we collectively come together,” she said. “We know if we’re down we have got to work even harder to get it back.”

Kent quickly responded as junior forward Jenna Hellstrom booted in a rebound in the 21st minute for her team-leading 7th goal of the season.

Signs of the local rivalry came to life when Hellstrom got into a scuffle with Zips senior defender Jenna Anderson. Both were given yellow cards and shook hands after a meeting with the referee.

Culver, playing in her first Kent-Akron game, noticed the different feel in this game compared to other ones.

“We always come out hard but everybody was hyped for this one,” she said. “It was fun having the crowd here.”

In the second half the Flashes were able to score twice with both scores coming from redshirt sophomore Donavan Capehart in the fifty-seventh and sixty-second minutes.

Capehart said she wanted to be more aggressive after her first two goals, noting the long shot she took in the sixty-third minute that hit off the far corner of the post.

The Flashes shut out the Zips in the second half with the help of four saves from freshman goalkeeper Ashleah McDonald, winning 3-1.

Despite the Flashes dominating on shots (18-6) and shots on goal (6-2) in the first half, they still came away tied 1-1 going into halftime.

In the second half the Flashes were able to take better advantage of their offensive opportunities, scoring two goals on five shots.

Flashes head coach Rob Marinaro said there wasn’t really anything the team did different in the second half.

“Two real good finishes were the difference,” he said. “We had the opportunities in the first half and we didn’t put them away. It created for a little bit more of a difficult game.”

It got more difficult for the Flashes on Sunday when they played the Bulls in Buffalo.

For the fourth time in five games, the Flashes gave up the first goal. However, unlike the previous three, they were unable to tie things up.

Even with Kent giving up the first goal, Marinaro thought the Flashes started well on Sunday.

“We just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” he said. “Unfortunately, they got an opportunity and put theirs away.”

Kent allowed the only goal of the game to Bulls sophomore midfielder Julia Benati.

Similar to its game against Akron, Kent had more opportunities with more shots (13-7,) shots on goal (5-2,) and corner kicks (3-1). However, Buffalo’s sophomore goalkeeper Laura Dougall was able to save all five shots on goal, earning her fifth shutout on the season.

Buffalo, the reigning conference tournament champions, are still below the Flashes in the MAC standings. Marinaro said his team is not one to seek out any opponent.

“It’s a real strong conference with a lot of parity,” he said. “We don’t look forward to playing anybody. Whoever’s in front of us, that’s who we’re looking to play.”

Marinaro said he liked the good starts and the high energy from the Flashes. But there are things he looks for his team to improve going forward.

“We need to do a bit of a better job of matching up the physical play,” he said. “Buffalo played us really tough. I think if we could have matched their intensity and physical nature, I think we could have come out with a more positive result.”

Kent State will be back home after going 2-1 on the road the last three games.

The Flashes will play Western Michigan (4-2-2) on Friday at 4 p.m. at Zoeller Field.

Dan Armelli is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]