Gironda nails three weekend goals as soccer team prevails


Junior Calli Rinicella sprints down the field going for the goal during a game against the University of Akron on Sunday Oct. 13; 2013. The Flashes won 2-0 over the Zips. Photo by Abby Schafer

Richie Mulhall

In the midst of fluctuating temperatures, the Kent State soccer team (9-5-0, 4-2-0 MAC) shut out the University of Akron (4-7-3, 1-4-1 MAC) 2-0 and gained a point in the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge Sunday afternoon at Zoeller Field.

The Flashes, coming off another 1-0 shutout win against MAC foe the University at Buffalo (4-7-2, 1-5 MAC) on Friday night, swept the conference competition this weekend and boosted their MAC record to 4-2.

With a smile on his face, Kent State head coach Rob Marinaro said he was happy with the “good quality efforts” the Flashes put on both sides of the ball. Kent State created a myriad of scoring opportunities throughout both games and stymied Buffalo and Akron’s offenses for its sixth and seventh shutouts of the season.

“We’re finding ways to win,” Marinaro said. “Sometimes it’s creating more offense, and sometimes it’s just playing strong defense.”

In Friday’s game against Buffalo, senior Jessacca Gironda scored the game-winning goal just 3:10 into the game after she received a pass from sophomore Madison Helterbran and belted it just inside the right post for the score.

Despite short flares and bursts of offense from the Buffalos in the second half, the Flashes’ defense held on for the shutout win. Buffalo led Kent State 16-12 in shots and 4-2 in corner kicks, but Gironda’s goal and the defense’s impenetrability were enough to leave the Buffalos frustrated and scoreless.

In the rivalry game against Akron, Gironda played the hero for her team again and tacked on two more goals to her season total, raising it to a team-leading 10. She is also still ranked third in Kent State history in both scoring and points.

Her first goal in the Akron game came at the 55:20 mark in the second half when Gironda received a pass from senior Jaclyn Dutton. Gironda dribbled around the defenders, in front of the goal and sank a shot aimed to the left corner of the net.

She lit up the scoreboard again just past the 84th minute of regulation. She moved up to the front of the net while freshman Abbie Lawson flew down the field and took the ball straight toward Akron’s goal. She flicked the ball to Gironda, who hit the wide-open shot for the score.

Freshman Jenna Hellstrom, who has assisted Gironda on numerous occasions this season, was off to the races every time she touched the ball Sunday and was excited to get a win against a rival that is still very new to her.

“I didn’t know what to expect because I never played (Akron) before, but we came out hard from the first 45 minutes, and we just kept it going for the entire game, and that’s what made us get the victory today,” Hellstrom said.

Both Kent State and Akron battled to a 0-0 stalemate in the first half. However, in the second half, the physicality among the two adversaries picked up and there were a few shaky moments defensively for the Flashes. Despite these lapses in coverage, Kent State ended the game with a commanding 20-3 advantage in shots and a slight 6-5 edge in corner kicks.

Sophomore Briana Bartolone, who just returned to action Sunday after dealing with a concussion, said the hometown victory against Akron was something her team really needed at this stage in the season.

“This was a major win for us, and it really helped boost us in the MAC,” Bartolone said. “We’re feeling pretty confident right now.”

Next weekend, the soccer team returns to Zoeller Field on Friday and Sunday to take on Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan Univerity respectively.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected] .