Soccer breaks winless streak with 4-1 win over Ball State

Alex Atkinson

The Kent State soccer team’s intensity rebounded after the Flashes’ 1-0 loss Friday to Toledo as the team pummeled Ball State 4-1 Sunday.

With the win, Kent State (2-9-4, 1-6-1 Mid-American Conference) broke an 11-game winless streak dating back to Sept. 3.

“It’s been a long time coming where we played quality soccer,” Marinaro said. “I think today we played a lot more opportunistic and it showed on the scoreboard.”

Yesterday, as with every game, the Flashes gave up the first goal of the game.

However, Marinaro said he didn’t believe giving up the early goal was a result to a lack of intensity.

“I think our intensity was really high to start the game,” Marinaro said. “I just think again a quick breakdown and small transition that we didn’t cover quick enough.”

In the 22nd minute, Kent State evened the score. Senior forward Annie Messer took a corner kick that a Cardinals defender cleared with a header. Sophomore defender Sara Henderson was there to hook a shot over Ball State’s goalkeeper and into the upper left corner of the net for her first collegiate goal.

Marinaro said after Friday’s loss to Toledo the team just needed one goal to get themselves going. After Henderson’s goal, it was evident Marinaro was correct, as the Flashes controlled the rest of the game.

“You saw the hard work pay off,” Marinaro said, “and (the goal) really put a lot of life into the team.”

The Flashes kept pounding after the goal and added two more goals and benefited from an own goal to finish with a season-high four goals.

Senior midfielder Kellyn Flanagan scored in the 39th minute on a give-and-go with sophomore Megan Repas. Flanagan started the play by blocking a cleared ball. The ball rolled to Megan Repas, who fed Flanagan a pass that she one-timed into the back of the net.

Just 36 seconds before the end of the first half, Kent State added its third goal. Freshman defender Megan Johnson lobbed a long cross from midfield to the goal box. Freshman forward Jessacca Gironda was there to head the ball into the net for her seventh goal of the season, giving the Flashes a two-goal lead.

The Cardinals helped the Flashes in the 73rd minute by heading in a corner kick from Kent State junior midfielder Jenni Stapleton.

Unlike Sunday’s game, the offense never capitalized on its opportunities against Toledo on Friday. Both teams had nine corner kicks, yet Kent never converted on one of these opportunities.

Another slow start to the game by the Flashes led to an early Rocket’s goal within the first minute of the game.

Toledo’s Rachel Kravitz took a corner kick and laid a cross right to Brittany Hensler, who headed it into the goal for her sixth goal of the season. It only took the Rockets 41 seconds to score.

“Really we didn’t settle into the real part of the game probably for the first five to seven minutes,” Marinaro said. “(Toledo) was pumped up and they did have the momentum right from the very start. Those are key moments we can’t let slip away.”

Kent State takes on Akron on the road next Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Ohio at 1 p.m. in Athens on Sunday.

Contact Alex Atkinson at [email protected].