Soccer ends scoring drought, losing streak at Eastern Kentucky

Nick Walton

After three games and more than 80 minutes, the Kent State soccer team ended its scoring drought with a goal from sophomore forward Annie Messer.

The Flashes (3-4) held on for 17 minutes and ended their three-game losing streak with a 1-0 win Friday at Eastern Kentucky.

“(Winning) feels really good,” Messer said. “Our team been working really hard in practice. We’ve started training harder, and it feels so good to come out with a win, especially on the road.”

Messer scored the goal at the 83:30 mark on a header.

“(The goal) was off of a free kick from (freshman midfielder) Gabi Ingram and she hit it, and it went off (junior midfielder) Catharine Marosszeky’s head and went back post and then I headed it into the net,” Messer said. “It was a big team effort.”

Messer said the team was able to persevere throughout the game because of its desire to win.

Game Notes:

• Slight improvement

The Flashes’ 3-4 record through seven games is slightly better than it was last year. Through seven games last season, they were 2-4-1.

• Her lucky day

Sophomore Annie Messer’s goal Friday (Sept. 19) was her first of the season and the second of her career. Her last goal came in a 2-0 victory over Youngstown State last year, which was played, ironically enough, on Sept. 19.

• Goose Egg No. 2

The Flashes’ 1-0 victory Friday was their second shutout this season. The first came in the season opener at Youngstown State, also a 1-0 win.

• A look ahead

The Flashes will host Ohio at 4 p.m. Friday and Akron at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Kent State Soccer Field. Going into yesterday, Ohio had a 1-5 record, while Akron had a 5-1 record. Ohio was picked to finish in fifth place in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll while Akron was picked to finish in 11th place.

“I think it’s just wanting to win and wanting to finish the game,” Messer said. “You’re tired at the end, but the team just has to push together. And we ended up getting a goal because no one quit.”

The Flashes outshot Eastern Kentucky 14-11, including 10 shots on net to Eastern Kentucky’s seven. The Flashes had a combined 11 shots on net in the three games prior to Friday, all of which ended in shutouts.

“It comes down to picking up our intensity level,” Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said. “We’re doing a few things differently tactically to try and create more offense for ourselves, but it’s all a part of the process of getting better every day.”

The Flashes committed nine fouls to Eastern Kentucky’s 11. Sophomore forward Kelly Heaton led the team with three shot attempts, and freshman goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood recorded seven saves in the win.

This was Kent State’s first meeting against Eastern Kentucky, and the win improved the team’s record to 2-4 on the road this season.

“(The win) shows us we can win on the road,” Marinaro said. “When we put our minds to it and we carry out our game plan and we work hard, we’re able to accomplish a great deal. I think it builds our confidence from that end.”

The Flashes will start Mid-American Conference play at home Friday against Ohio and Sunday against Akron.

“I think we all knew (getting a win) was very important,” Messer said. “It brought the whole team’s confidence back up. We’re just going to go into training hard this week and go into MAC play.”

Marinaro said his team has to prepare just as hard as normal to prepare for conference play.

“Going into the MAC is what we’ve been preparing for,” Marinaro said. “At this point, we have to bring everything that we can to the next two games.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].