Soccer looks to claim high seed for MAC Tournament


Freshman midfielder Abbie Lawson fights for the ball against Toledo’s Megan Connor to the ball during a game Friday, October 24, 2014. The Flashes won 3-0.

Ben Orner

After clinching a playoff berth, the Kent State soccer team (9-6-3, 4-4-2 MAC) will face Ohio (6-12, 3-7 MAC) on Thursday in its last regular season game.

Scouting Ohio

Kent State is 8-12-1 all-time against Ohio; however the Flashes have won the past four meetings. Ohio sits in the basement of the Mid-American Conference with a 3-7 conference record, only accumulating nine points, which is good for second-to-last in the conference.

The Bobcats may not be good this year, but their freshman class has proven to be a valuable asset for the future. Ohio freshmen have combined for five goals, four assists, 14 points, 45 shots and 24 shots on goal.

On the defensive side of the ball, Ohio’s goalkeeper, Nicole Amari, is third in the MAC with 89 saves. Amari hasn’t gotten much help as of late, as the Bobcats are currently on a five-game losing streak in which they have been outscored 12-3.

The season so far

Kent State has had a rollercoaster season, following up dominant non-conference performances with often-unengaged MAC performances. The Flashes went 5-2-1 in their non-conference schedule, recording five shutouts and knocking off Colorado, the then-No. 24 team in the nation.

Kent State has struggled in conference play, going 4-4-2 and losing, 1-0, three times. A major theme of the season has been Kent State’s inability to capitalize on scoring chances. The Flashes lead the MAC with 280 shots. Kent State’s opponents have only attempted 188 shots – a 33 percent discrepancy.

Kent State has relied on sophomore forward Jenna Hellstrom for most of the season, as she leads the team in every major offensive category. Hellstrom has six goals on 55 shots, including six assists and 23 shots on goal.

Kent State’s defense has been solid this season, helping the Flashes attain a positive goal differential. The defenders have been hitting their marks, and junior goalkeeper Stephanie Senn has recorded seven shutouts.

With Hellstrom’s consistent firepower and Senn’s brick-wall goalkeeping, the Flashes barely squeaked into clinching a playoff spot.

Playoff seeding

Every MAC team will play its last game on Thursday. These six games will determine the final playoff teams and their seeds in the MAC Tournament, which will begin Sunday. There are many different scenarios that can play out regarding where Kent State will be seeded in the postseason.

For the following scenarios, keep in mind that Northern Illinois and Western Michigan play each other, and so do Central Michigan and Toledo.

Kent State earns the…

  • 5th seed with a win, and a NIU loss/tie
  • 6th seed with a tie, and a NIU/WMU tie or a WMU loss
  • 6th seed with a loss, a WMU tie, and a CMU/Toledo tie
  • 7th seed with a tie, and a WMU win
  • 7th seed with a loss, a WMU win/tie, and a CMU/Toledo tie
  • 8th seed with loss, a WMU win, and a CMU/Toledo win

Seeding is a crucial part of a tournament bracket because of first-round matchups. If the Flashes earn the fifth seed, they play the fourth seed. However, if they are seeded eighth, they will play the first seed.

The Flashes take on the Bobcats at 3 p.m. Thursday in Athens, Ohio.

Contact Ben Orner at [email protected].