Second-half scoring carries Flashes to win, draw

Lance Lysowski

Soccer ties Broncos after falling behind in first half

The Kent State soccer team almost completed its second comeback victory of the weekend yesterday when they tied Western Michigan 2-2 after double overtime.

The Flashes (7-5-1, 3-2-1 Mid-American conference) showed composure and second-half offense in both games this weekend. On Friday, Kent State successfully rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Northern Illinois (4-7-2, 0-3-2) 2-1 in double overtime. Yesterday, the Flashes scored two second-half goals to earn a draw against the Broncos (5-6-2, 2-3-1) at the Kent State Soccer Field.

Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said he was impressed with the team’s composure, but the Flashes need to avoid playing from behind.

“They understand when the work is put in that they can accomplish a lot, but now we need to learn that it needs to be done for 90 minutes,” Marinaro said. “I think we built some confidence this weekend on what this team is capable of doing.”

Yesterday, the Flashes dug themselves a hole early. Western Michigan came out firing on offense, finding gaps in Kent State’s defense. The Broncos got on the scoreboard early when freshman forward Megan Matula fired a shot that banked off the crossbar to sophomore midfielder Nikolette Rivera.

Rivera’s shot, from 10 yards out, made it past Flashes sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood for the goal in the 16th minute.

The Broncos increased their lead to 2-0 in the 24th minute when junior midfielder Kelsey Carmichael’s header off a throw in found its way past Sherwood on the left side of the goal. The Broncos carried the lead into halftime, but the Flashes began showing offensive life in the final minutes of the first half.

“I think coming from Friday and winning the game, we all had our heads like we weren’t going to have to work hard,” junior forward Kelly Heaton said. “That’s what coach told us at halftime, that we need to keep pushing, (stay) composed and work as hard as we can because that’s what’s going to win us this game.”

Kent State held the ball in Western Michigan’s offensive third to start the second half. Junior forward Annie Messer got the Flashes on the scoreboard in the fifth minute with a soaring shot from 28 yards out that found the upper part of the net.

Heaton said the Flashes recognized a weakness in the Broncos’ defense and exploited it. The Flashes outmatched the Broncos in offense during the second half, outshooting their opponent 12-1.

“We realized there was a gap in the middle, and we needed to stay composed with the ball because we were just pushing it up too fast,” Heaton said. “We realized there were holes between the center back and the wide back so we tried to play that through to get it.”

Kent State continued to chip away at the Broncos’ defense with several scoring opportunities. The Flashes’ hard work paid off when Heaton tied the game up in the 87th minute on a deflection from a throw-in for her second goal on the year.

In overtime, Kent State’s offense netted three shots on goal in the final 10 minutes. None found their way in as the game went to a draw.

“We played with a lot more fight and a lot more willingness to get in on tackles and the pride we took in winning all of those loose balls,” Marinaro said. “That’s where it started to pay off.”

Late-game heroics gave Kent State a 2-1 double overtime win Friday in a rain-soaked game.

Kent State outshot the Huskies 10-2 in the first half, but sophomore forward Kelsey Passaglia’s breakaway goal in the 30th minute gave Northern Illinois the early 1-0 lead.

Sophomore defender Vanessa Salerno said regardless of new personnel on the backline for the Flashes, the defense still held.

“We had a lot of new players on the defense today, so it was kind of tough, but they definitely pulled it together,” Salerno said. “It was just a little slip-up and they got a quick breakaway, but again, we stuck with it and ended up winning.”

Kent State pressured the Northern Illinois defense with cross passes and consistent ball control. Senior defender Beth Diederich tied the game with 40 seconds left by redirecting the ball with her head off of a free kick.

The Flashes capitalized on their lone shot on goal in the overtime periods in the 103rd minute when Salerno knocked a ball past the Huskies’ keeper off a corner kick.

“We pushed a lot of our even midfield up so we had five offensive players in the offensive third so I think that played a big factor,” Salerno said. “We just kicked it up, and somehow we worked hard enough to find the back of the net.”

The Flashes will look to build off the late-game comebacks next weekend when they travel to Bowling Green (4-9-2, 0-4-2) on Friday and Toledo (7-5-2, 3-2-1) on Sunday.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected]