Women’s soccer edges Ball State, falls to Miami

Richie Mulhall

On weekends in which Kent State women’s soccer have two games, they have sometimes alternated between winning and losing in what has been an up-and-down season.

This past weekend, the Flashes took to the road against two Mid-American Conference rivals and stayed true to their recurring trend.

The women’s soccer team defeated Ball State (8-3-1) 1-0 Friday in Muncie, Ind., and then lost to Miami (5-6-1) 1-0 Sunday in Oxford, Ohio. After Sunday’s loss, Kent State dropped to 7-5 on the season and 2-2 in conference play.

Kent State head coach Rob Marinaro said his team got an early goal against Ball State and held its ground defensively for the remainder of the game.

“It was almost the exact opposite against Miami, where we played and fought really hard, but we gave up a goal early,” Marinaro said. “We put a lot of pressure on them, but they (played) well and came out with a 1-0 win.”

After Miami’s Katy Dolesh’s shot was blocked in the penalty area, Dolesh took control of the ball again and dished it across the goal to Miami’s Kayla Zakrzweski. Then Zakrzweski booted the ball past Kent State sophomore goalkeeper Stephanie Senn to take a 1-0 lead at just 5:43 into the first half.

Offensively, Kent State had a number of opportunities to score, but Miami stopped them. The Flashes outshot the RedHawks 12-10 in shots and 4-2 in shots on goal. They even boasted a 10-2 lead in corner kicks.

“We got the balls to the goal, but we just didn’t finish on our corner kicks and shots, so once those start falling, we’re (going to) be golden,” sophomore Madison Helterbran said.

Despite leading Miami on that stat sheet, the Flashes couldn’t seize the opportunity to score, which is something Marinaro said the team must continually look for in tight, low-scoring game situations like the ones against Miami and Ball State.

“The energy is high and the work rate has been fantastic, but there are games where if we get opportunities, we need to find a way to capitalize,” Marinaro said.

In Friday’s game against Ball State, the Flashes did better job taking advantage of chances to score and attained the upper hand in the early going of the contest. Senior defender Katherine Lawrence threw a nice pass to freshman Jenna Hellstrom, who then kicked the ball over to senior Jessacca Gironda.

Gironda maneuvered the ball around her opponent and sank her shot to put the Flashes up 1-0.

In accord with their fast-paced start, the Flashes outshot the Cardinals 8-5 in the first half, but Ball State turned it on in the second half and powered their way back.

With Kent State’s offense falling behind, Senn stepped up her game and thwarted any potential shots on goal Ball State attempted. Senn racked up eights saves during regulation.

“The defense really helped me out,” Senn said. “I just really had to make one big save at the end of the game, but that’s just me helping them out as much as they help me out.”

After this weekend’s MAC competition, Kent State still trails Miami 11-7-1 in their all-time series against each other, but maintains its 9-6-2 advantage in the lifetime series with Ball State.

The Flashes return will remain on the road against Buffalo on Friday and then return home to Zoeller Field to face longtime MAC rival Akron.

Richie Mulhall at [email protected].