Women’s soccer comeback falls short in loss to Cincinnati

Richie Mulhall

The Kent State women’s soccer team (4-3-0) fell behind early in its game Sunday against Cincinnati and dropped a 2-1 loss to the Bearcats at Gettler Stadium.

The Flashes fought back hard in the second half of play after a slow start in the first half of regulation, but it was not enough to trump the Bearcats in Kent State’s third straight road game in two weeks.

“We had a slow start, and Cincinnati took advantage of things,” head coach Rob Marinaro said. “They put a goal in and put us down one.”

The Bearcats scored their first goal of the game in the 34th minute of regulation when senior Emily Elsbrook scored her first goal of the season thanks to three assists from her teammates, freshman Bailey Wilson and sophomore Mackenzie Reynolds.

Both Marinaro and sophomore Madison Helterbran agreed that it was a rough half for their team.

“Overall I think we needed to come out stronger in the first half because that’s where we’ve been lacking lately,” Helterbran said.

Helterbran said the Flashes came out stronger in the second half, but still had a difficult time against Cincinnati. The Bearcats scored their second goal of the contest in a little more than three minutes into the second half, this time with Reynolds on the receiving end of the score after striking a header in for her second goal of the season.

Marinaro said his team came back strong in the second half and slowly started to pick up its game despite allowing the early second-half score from Cincinnati.

“Kent State is a second-half team, so we really turned it up and played a very good half,” Marinaro said.

Kent State finally found the back of the net at 67:22 in the game after Helterbran scored her third goal this season off a corner-kick delivery from junior Cali Rinicella.

Helterbran said communication was the key to her team’s short-lived success in the second half.

“We started to talk more, and we got the ball moving more quickly than in the first half,” Hilterbran said.

Helterbran’s goal kept Kent State in the game and cut Cincinnati’s lead by one score, but in the end it was not enough to overcome the Bearcats.

Marinaro said the team let itself down Sunday by not coming out with enough intensity to set the pace of the game.

“There was not enough grit to our game,” Marinaro said. “We gave them too much time and space. We’re an aggressive team that likes to play and set the tempo, and we just didn’t come out that way.”

The Flashes return home Friday to host the Youngstown State Penguins at Zoeller Field.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].