Soccer misses qualifying for MAC tournament with loss

Alex Atkinson

A deep pass and a misjudgment by Kent State’s junior goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood ended the Kent State soccer team’s hopes of qualifying for this season’s Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Akron’s Jordan Baranowski raced onto a long pass, maneuvered around the Flashes’ charging goalkeeper and scored the game winner in the 102nd minute on an empty net.

“Anytime you lose in overtime, it’s hard to swallow,” Kent State senior midfielder Kellyn Flanagan said. “But I think we played well.”

Akron scored the first goal in the 17th minute. The Zips’ Rachel Phillips crossed a corner kick to the center of the box to Jordan Clark, who slipped a shot between two Kent State defenders for the goal.

Shortly into the second half, Kent State freshman forward Jessacca Gironda scored to tie the game.

Similar to Akron’s game-winner, Gironda received a long pass from sophomore midfielder Sara Henderson. Gironda dribbled around Akron’s goalkeeper and scored the equalizer.

“(The goal) meant a lot to bring us back,” Gironda said.

With the loss against Akron, Kent State was eliminated from the MAC Tournament. Despite that, Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said this does not mean the team’s season is over.

“I think it’s disappointing, but you continue to play and keep your head up,” Marinaro said. “You play until the season’s over.”

Kent State showed that mentality yesterday, as the Flashes beat Ohio 3-2 in double overtime.

Ohio (6-7-4, 3-4-3) scored first in the fifth minute. The Bobcats led until Gironda scored her third goal in as many games in the 11th minute. Kent State senior forward Kelly Heaton got behind the defense and slipped a pass to Gironda, who scored the game-tying goal.

The Bobcats pulled ahead early in the second when Kelsey Pichel scored off a direct kick to make it 2-1. That would appear to be the final score until Flanagan tied the game a second time for Kent State off a corner kick by Heaton in the 86th minute.

“Kellyn was able to get up and flick (Heaton’s cross) in, and that was a huge goal for us,” Marinaro said. “Kelly Heaton has been giving us great serves on corner kicks.”

Halfway into the second overtime, Flanagan won the ball near midfield and played it down field to senior forward Annie Messer. Messer set it and put the game away with a shot into the upper right corner.

“I think everyone was relieved because we were all really tired,” Messer said. “It was a long weekend. It was just a good feeling we came out on top this time.”

Messer said the team knew it would win once the game went into overtime.

“I think once we hit overtime we knew we had the intensity we needed and we felt we were going to come back and score,” Messer said. “It was just a matter of when we would do it.”

Even though the Flashes will miss the tournament, Marinaro said he is proud of his team.

“With a couple more breaks here and there, the season could have been very different for us,” Marinaro said. “But right now we’re extremely proud of them still competing and working out there, and that’s the way we want our program to be represented.”

The Flashes will close its season Thursday at home against Buffalo at 3 p.m. at Zoeller Field.

Contact Alex Atkinson at [email protected].