Soccer knocked out of MAC Tourney with loss to Eagles

Lance Lysowski

The Kent State soccer team lost to Eastern Michigan yesterday, ending the Flashes’ season in the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

Kent State (8-9-2, 4-5-2 MAC), the seventh seed in the tournament, was outshot by their opponent for the first time since the team’s 3-0 loss at Central Michigan on Oct. 2.

The Flashes challenged the Eagles early when senior midfielder Catharine Marosszeky’s chance was robbed by Eastern Michigan junior goalkeeper Monique Budani.

Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said the game was back-and-forth in the first half, but the Flashes were unable to keep up the pace.

“I thought we matched with them evenly in the first half,” Marinaro said. “They may have had a few more chances, but we were able to hold them.”

The Flashes were unable to capitalize on their few opportunities, while Eastern Michigan (11-3-6, 6-1-4 MAC) took the lead for good in the 45th minute.

With two seconds before the half, senior forward Ashley Rodrigues outran a Kent State defender and beat sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood from 6 yards out.

“They were very opportunistic,” Marinaro said. “We lost possession late in the half. They were able to split our defense,and then scored with just seconds left.”

In response to the Eagles’ marker, the Flashes moved additional players into the Eastern Michigan offensive third. The strategy seemed to pay off when Marosszeky and junior midfielder Kellyn Flanagan both had scoring chances that just missed the net.

The strategy also backfired in the 81st minute when sophomore midfielder Chelsea Detrick received a pass in front of the net, sneaking the ball inside the left post for goal.

Senior forward L.A. Thoma said Kent State caught some tough breaks in yesterday’s game.

“We had some really good chances. Every game we have good chances, it’s all about putting them away,” Thoma said. “Some of our shots were wide of the post, some went right to the goalkeeper. That’s just how it goes.”

Junior forward Paige Sheridan sealed the game for the Eagles with only a minute remaining. The junior scored her fourth goal on the season when senior midfielder Carissa Wilson’s leading pass created a breakaway opportunity. Sheridan’s footwork caused Sherwood to leave the net wide open for the goal.

Eastern Michigan outshot the Flashes 20-17, as Sherwood made a career-high 10 saves while Budani’s seven saves earned the junior the shutout.

The Eagles move on to face sixth-seeded Miami on Friday in the tournament semifinals.

“Both teams played really hard, but they capitalized on our letdowns,” Thoma said. “That was the main thing.”

With the season ending on a negative note, Thoma said the result of yesterday’s game leaves the team with mixed emotions.

“Obviously I am sad, but I’m content because I know we (seniors) went out on a great year,” Thoma said. “We had a great team this year, great teamwork and great camaraderie. There are other positives that came out of this season.”

The season may not have ended with a tournament run, but Kent State did earn a MAC Tournament appearance for the sixth time in seven years.

Thoma said the program has a great foundation with the players that will return in 2010.

“This team had a great atmosphere, and there is a fantastic group we leave behind,” Thoma said. “They are only going to go up from here.”

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].