Soccer team finishes weekend with double overtime loss, draw

Lance Lysowski

Flashes lose late to Toledo, play Bowling Green to tie

The Kent State soccer team fell victim to late-game heroics yesterday when the Flashes lost to Toledo 3-2 in double overtime.

The Flashes (7-6-2, 3-3-2 Mid-American Conference) continued their strong play this weekend from their backline and forwards. Kent State played Bowling Green (4-9-3, 0-4-3 MAC) to a scoreless draw Friday, despite leading the Falcons in most statistics. Yesterday, they held the lead late in the second half, but Toledo (9-5-2, 5-2-1 MAC) tied the game with 90 seconds left and won the contest in the 104th minute.

Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said he was disappointed the team came up short but was impressed with the Flashes’ work ethic in the 3-2 loss.

“All losses are tough,” Marinaro said. “This game featured a lot of change in momentum, and although we came up short, I thought we worked extremely hard and finished strong.”

The Rockets were anchored by an unlikely source yesterday: junior defender Brittany Hensler. Hensler is third on the team in scoring but has only started 11 of the team’s 16 games.

Hensler got the Rockets on the board in the 78th minute with a corner kick, one of seven that day for the Rockets.

The Flashes responded eight minutes later when junior midfielder Kellyn Flanagan recovered a one-touch pass from junior forward Annie Messer, beating sophomore goalkeeper Vickie Traven for the game-tying goal.

The Flashes took the lead just two minutes later when senior defender Jackie Barath’s throw-in found freshman forward Megan Repas. Repas snuck a pass behind the Toledo defense, finding junior forward Kelly Heaton, who scored at close range for her third goal in the season.

Kent State’s lead did not last long, as Hensler found the net again in the 89th minute. The Flashes outshot Toledo 4-1 in overtime, but the Rockets made their only shot count. Hensler scored an unassisted goal in the 104th minute to earn the hat trick and the win for Toledo.

The game was the fourth double-overtime contest in a row for the Flashes.

“We played well throughout the game,” Marinaro said. “In overtime, we had some chances, but Toledo caught momentum, got an opportunity and finished it.”

Friday’s game against last-place Bowling Green displayed the Flashes’ dominance on both sides of the field. Kent State continued their strong play in the opponent’s offensive third — outshooting the Falcons 18-7 with 10 shots on goal.

Flanagan said the team showed impressive chemistry against Bowling Green, but the Flashes were hoping for a better result.

“The team was connecting and worked really well together,” Flanagan said. “It was a close game, and we wish we could have come out with a win.”

Kent State forced Bowling Green junior goalkeeper Alexa Arsenault to keep the Falcons in the game. The junior made five saves in the first half and a total of eight on the game.

The game favored Kent State, and Flanagan was inches away from putting the Flashes on the board late in the second half when her shot from 20 yards sailed over the net.

After regulation ended, the first overtime period was back and forth. The Flashes took over in the second overtime with five shots on goal. Flanagan once again was inches away from sending Kent State home with the win when her line drive shot from 25 yards out rang off the cross bar in the 105th minute.

“We continue to talk as a team that it’s about giving the best effort every day,” Marinaro said. “Give Bowling Green credit; they were playing with their backs against the wall and played very tough.”

The Flashes added two additional scoring chances in the closing minutes of the overtime period. Heaton’s corner kick had Arsenault beat on the near side, but the keeper was aided by a defender who deflected the ball away.

Repas added to the late-game dramatics when her header in the 108th minute forced Arsenault to make the last of her eight saves. Arsenault and Flashes sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood earned shutouts.

“We had most of the play, and we played really well but didn’t finish the opportunity,” Marinaro said. “We came up another point in the MAC standings, and we have to keep rolling from here.”

The Flashes will look to improve their MAC tournament chances this weekend when they host Ohio (7-5-2, 4-1-2 MAC) Friday and rival Akron (5-6-2, 3-3-1 MAC) Sunday for Seniors Day.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].