Soccer earns first win of the season

AJ Atkinson

Flashes split weekend matches in Florida

After losing its opener to Illinois State and tying to Cleveland State last weekend, the Kent State soccer team progressed to claim its first win of the season.

The Flashes beat Florida Gulf Coast, 2-1 on Friday, before falling 2-0 to Miami on Sunday at the 2010 Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic in Florida.

After a timid first half on Friday where FGCU led 1-0, Kent State (1-2-1) came out strong in the second half and scored two goals just before the 80-minute mark.

“At halftime, we got together and ironed things out,” freshman forward Jessacca Gironda said. “We needed to move and play together as a team, and when we started building passes together, good things came out of it.”

Kent State coach Rob Marinaro noticed the change, too.

“Our team intensity was excellent at the start of the second half,” Marinaro said. “We started to pick up a little bit of momentum gradually, and we got a lot of quality minutes from a lot of players (Friday).”

The equalizing goal came from two of Kent State’s freshmen. Defender Katherine Lawrence chipped a deep pass over the FGCU defense to Gironda, who buried her shot into the far post. The goal was the freshman’s third goal in her third collegiate game.

“When the ball got through, I knew I had to just get it on frame,” Gironda said. “I wanted to make their goalkeeper have to make a save.”

Kent State took the lead just two minutes later when senior midfielder Kellyn Flanagan scored what became the game-winning goal in the 79th minute. Flanagan cut through multiple defenders before she ripped her first goal of the season from 25 feet out.

FGCU continued to attack for the remaining 10 minutes of the game, but Kent State’s defense held.

“We did a great job of closing space and winning a lot of the balls that entered our defensive zone,” Marinaro said. “I’ve gotta give props to the whole team for excellent team defending.”

On Sunday, the Kent State defense struggled against Miami. The Flashes were outshot 18-5 by the Hurricanes en route to a 2-0 loss.

“I thought we did extremely well defensively during the tournament, but against a high-caliber team like Miami, you can’t give them chances,” Marinaro said.

Kent State created scoring chances early, but could never find the back of the net. Miami did not take hold of the game until after halftime, when the Hurricanes scored goals in the 51st and 67th minute.

Despite the loss, Kent State was satisfied with its performance against such a powerful opponent as Miami.

“We did well against (Miami) today, and it built our confidence,” said Flanagan, who was the Flashes’ lone representative on the all-tournament team. “Miami is a top program in the country, and their speed of play helped us prepare for the conference season.”

The Flashes have a week off before traveling to Pittsburgh next Sunday for a match against Pittsburgh at 4 p.m.

Contact AJ Atkinson at [email protected].

Box Score Kent State, Florida Gulf Coast (Friday)

Kent State 2, Florida Gulf Coast 1


23’ Villaverde (Donnellan) — FGCU

77’ Gironda (Lawrence) — KSU

79’ Flanagan — KSU

Box score for Kent State, Miami (Sunday)

Miami 2, Kent State 0


51’ Macdonald (Ching) — UM

67’ Howarth (Singer, Roseboro) — UM

Player of the weekend: Kellyn Flanagan (3 shots, 1 goal, named to the all-tournament team)

Stat of the weekend: 3

On Friday, freshman forward Jessacca Gironda scored her third goal in just as many games.