Women’s soccer sweeps weekend games



Richie Mulhall

When the Kent State women’s soccer team needed a boost during either of its Labor Day weekend games, senior Jessacca Gironda answered the call and delivered.

Gironda scored both of the Flashes’ weekend goals as they swept their two-game home stand against Cleveland State and Valparaiso, both by a score of 1-0, at Zoeller Field.

The Flashes (3-1-0) came out ready to play from the opening kick Friday. The team tallied four shots and three corner kicks within the first 10 minutes of the game, ultimately topping the Vikings in both categories.

“Cleveland State’s a hard-fought game every year,” said Rob Marinaro, Kent State’s head coach. “I thought they played very well, fought hard for the ‘W’ and managed the game extremely well.”

Kent State’s offense isolated the ball and kept it on Cleveland State’s side of the field for the majority of the game. The Flashes’ defense jumped at every opportunity to boot the ball back across midfield, giving the offense multiple chances to score.

“I thought we high-pressured them extremely well, and we kept the pressure on them not to allow their offense to generate anything,” Marinaro said.

Marinaro attributed his team’s inability to score many goals to the Vikings’ defense and goalkeeper Sarah Wood, who recorded five saves during the game.

The scoreless tie was broken in the 51st minute of the game when Gironda took a pass from junior Stephanie Haugh and dribbled past the defenders before sinking the game-winning goal.

“We work on those a lot in practice, so we just did a great job executing it, starting with a punt,” Gironda said. “[Haugh] did an awesome job to flick it in behind and then gave me a pretty easy job to just put it in the back of the net.”

The Flashes held onto their 1-0 shutout thanks to a number of defensive stands. Junior defender Katherine Lawrence said the defense’s ability to halt offensive surges by Cleveland State was a testament to what the team has been working on in practice.

“Our goal was to get a shutout,” Lawrence said. “The past couple of games we had some goals scored on us that shouldn’t have happened, and so we just wanted to put our foot down and say, ‘No more goals.’”

The Flashes led Valparaiso in shots on goal and corner kicks Sunday but still had a difficult time scoring a goal. They finally managed to break through in double overtime when Gironda played a rebound off of a shot by sophomore Madison Hilterbran and booted the ball in for her second goal of the weekend.

“We battled until the end, and it paid off in the end,” Gironda said. “I was on the scoring end of [both goals], but overall it was definitely a team effort.”

Marinaro said the offense did a fantastic job in creating opportunities this weekend and praised the defense for its tremendous efforts as well.

“[Valparaiso] is a very good team, and they put us under some pressure, and for the entire weekend, the defense withheld the pressure extremely well,” Marinaro said.

Contact Richie Muhall at [email protected].