Soccer team advances closer to victory

AJ Atkinson

Freshman leads soccer team to 2-2 draw with Cleveland State

The Kent State Soccer team overcame an early own-goal yesterday to take a 2-2 tie with Cleveland State in Cleveland.

Just three minutes into the game, Cleveland State took a corner kick that deflected off a Kent State defender and into the Flashes’ net. Despite the defensive mishap, Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said he was impressed with his team’s performance and fight against the Viking’s strong defense.

“Coming back from that situation was a strong sign of character from our team,” Marinaro said. “Working all the way back to take the lead was rather impressive.”

Kent State controlled the pace of the game by maintaining possession of the ball and releasing a barrage of shots. As a team, Kent State took 25 shots, with four players recording three or more in the game.

“We wanted to go out and go as hard as we could, win the first tackle, and work as hard as we could to win every ball,” senior forward Kelly Heaton said. “We wanted to leave everything on the field, and we definitely did.”

Although Kent State challenged Cleveland State goalkeeper Kelly Zinkiewich often, she racked up 10 saves to hold the game to a draw.

Jessacca Gironda led the Flashes on offense in just her second college appearance. The freshman had a hand in both of Kent State’s goals, recording a goal and an assist during the game.

In the 19th minute, Gironda passed the ball to Heaton, who was waiting just outside the left corner of the penalty box. With a quick turn and set-up touch, Heaton laced a shot off the far post and into the net to tie the game.

Two minutes into the second half, Flanagan dribbled up the field and touched the ball off to Gironda, who one-timed it just out of the reach of Zinkiewich. Gironda’s second goal in as many games put Kent State up 2-1.

Less than ten minutes later, Cleveland State evened the score when Natalie Daniels slipped past the Kent State defense to even the score, 2-2.

Kent State had opportunities with 13 shots on goal, compared to Cleveland State’s four, but the Flashes were unable to capitalize yesterday.

“It’s frustrating,” said senior forward Annie Messer, who placed two shots on goal. “Our heart and our fight was there, we just came out with a tie.”

“We had our opportunities to win,” Marinaro said. “We need to build more confidence in the final third. We’re getting a lot of opportunities — which is fantastic — and our kids are doing their best with things. So we’ll continue training and working on that final finish.”

Last week the Flashes opened their season with a 1-2 home loss to Illinois State. Gironda scored in her college debut off a pass from freshman defender Morgan Mah to tie the game in the 87th minute, but seconds later the Redbirds retaliated with the game-clincher.

The Flashes’ next match will take place at the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament over Labor Day weekend. Kent State will take on the tournament host at 7 p.m. Friday.

Contact sports reporter Alex Atkinson at [email protected]