KSU soccer eliminated from MAC Tournament by Ball State


Erin McLaughlin

Kent State’s Jenna Hellstrom gets tangled up with Toledo’s Gabby Epelman while chasing after the ball during a game Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. The Flashes won 3-0.

Ben Orner

Box Score

The Kent State soccer team’s season ended Sunday in a first-round Mac Tournament playoff loss to Ball State.

The fifth-seeded Flashes were blanked by the fourth-seeded Cardinals, 2-0, in a disappointing loss that sent the Flashes packing in the Mid-American Conference quarterfinal in Muncie, Indiana. The game was scoreless until the 62nd minute, when Ball State’s Elaina Musleh scored only her second career goal on a long free kick that sailed past Kent State goalkeeper Stephanie Senn. Just 14 minutes later, Musleh notched her second goal of the game as her shot beat Senn yet again. 

Even though both teams tallied 10 shots, the Flashes were unable to mount a comeback. Suffering its sixth shutout loss of the year, the flashes were eliminated from the playoffs just hours after it started.

“We need to defend set pieces a whole lot better, and unfortunately that let us down again today,” Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said. “We need to play with a lot more grit and a lot more excitement, especially when games are on the line.” 

With the loss, Kent State finishes the season 10-7-3 overall and 5-4-2 in the MAC.

“I’m extremely disappointed for our seniors,” Marinaro said. “They deserve a whole lot better.”

The 2014-15 Kent State soccer seniors finished their four years with a 47-26-7, the best four-year stretch of any Kent State class.

Graduating this year are defenders Alyssa Meier and Mariah Sidwell, midfielder Renee Loya, and forwards Calli Rinicella and Stephanie Haugh.

Haugh finished second on the team with four goals and tied for the lead in assists with six.

“This is a great team with a lot of good, talented players, so it’s really upsetting knowing that I don’t get to play with them again,” she said.

Haugh said her team’s early exit in the playoffs does not do it justice.

“With the talent we had, there was no reason why we couldn’t have gone on this year,” she said. “We really wanted to go that extra mile, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

Marinaro says there are many things his team can improve on next season, including defending set pieces and capitalizing on opportunities, which plagued Kent State on numerous occasions this season.

“There’s a whole lot of things we need to do better next year, and that will be the focus of the offseason,” Marinaro said.

Senn, a junior, said her team hopes this season’s hard work will hopefully result in future improvements“ 

“We put so much work into this season,” she said. “We came in real strong and I think we all committed very much, probably the most I’ve ever seen. Hopefully we can improve on things we need to in this offseason and come back strong next year.”

As Kent State travels home after a season-ending loss, Ball State will take on MAC regular season champion Buffalo in the semifinal round.

Contact Ben Orner at [email protected].