Kent State soccer ends regular season on win over Ohio

Richie Mulhall

The Kent State soccer team ended its regular season on a positive note by defeating Mid American Conference rival Ohio (7-7-5, 3-5-3 MAC) 2-1 Thursday night at Chessa Field.

The Flashes won four of their last six matches to conclude their regular season. They finished the season with a 12-7 overall record and a 7-4 mark in the conference.

Head Coach Rob Marinaro said his team performed well Thursday and is proud of the final push the Flashes were able to make to finish their season strongly.

“We got great defense from the entire team, and then we did an excellent job attacking and creating some offense and got two very nice goals,” Marinaro said.

Under bleak skies and in the midst of torrential downpour, senior scoring leader Jessacca Gironda was at it again.

After Ohio scored just nine minutes in the game to seize the quick 1-0 lead, Gironda answered back with a goal of her own at the 18:38 mark. After a foul from behind, Gironda received a penalty kick opportunity and sunk her shot to even the score at one goal apiece.

Gironda’s second goal of the game and 14th goal of the season also came in the first half at the 27:20 mark. Sophomore goalkeeper Stephanie Senn threw the ball in to freshman defender Brittany Maisano, who then flicked the ball past the Bobcats’ defense to Gironda.

Gironda broke the defense down on the right side and hit a shot into the left corner of the net for the score. This was her seventh game-winning goal of the season. Senn and Maisano were credited with the assists on the drive.

“It was bittersweet because this was obviously the last regular season game I’ll ever play in,” Gironda said of her performance Thursday with the Flashes. “(My goals) wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the whole team, including the defense, who made big stops.”

Kent State’s defense was able to maintain the lead Gironda built until the game’s conclusion. Marinaro said the defense did not allow Ohio’s offense any space in front of or behind Kent State and shut down the Bobcats.

“The defense has been great for me, and I try to help them out whenever something goes wrong,” Senn said.

Gironda, who has had a historic last season at Kent State and currently leads the MAC in points (29), goals (12) and game-winners (6) said Thursday’s win was a big win for the team because it gives them the momentum they need going into the MAC tournament this weekend.

Kent State has never won the MAC tournament in program history, so if the Flashes could make it to the NCAA tournament, it would be a first.

Marinaro, Gironda and Senn all said the team is feeling confident moving into the postseason, especially after a recent pair of road victories against Ohio and Toledo.

“We’ve had some good tests all season, and we feel some confidence moving forward, so I think when we come out to play, we definitely should go as far as we want to go (in the tournament),” Gironda said. “We gotta keep moving forward because we haven’t reached our ultimate goal yet.”

Kent State finished fifth place in the MAC standings. The Flashes will play a MAC team to be determined Sunday, Nov. 3, in the MAC Quarterfinal.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].