Soccer season ends when comeback falls short

Chris Gates

The Kent State women’s soccer team nearly completed a great comeback in Mid-American Conference Tournament play yesterday, losing 4-3 at Toledo.

The Toledo Rockets received a penalty kick early in the first half, which they capitalized on and ran to a 4-1 halftime lead.

“(The penalty shot) gave them a lot of energy,” Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said. “We came out really slow. We didn’t come out with the fire we needed.”

Sophomore Molly Cornwell led the way for Toledo, registering a hat trick in the first half.

Toledo freshman Erin Flynn was taken down in the box at 7:19, and Cornwell tallied her first goal on the ensuing penalty kick. Cornwell’s second goal came at 12:49 off a rebound from an initial save by Kent State goalkeeper Kris Nelson. She completed her hat trick at 22:20 by lofting a shot from the left side, which found its way inside the far post.

Toledo’s other goal came from Flynn at the 17:38 mark of play. All four of Toledo’s goals came within 15 minutes of each other.

Shortly after Toledo’s fourth goal was scored, Kent State tallied its first. Like Toledo, Kent State got on the board off of a penalty kick.

Senior forward/midfielder Kimberly Dimitroff was tripped by a Toledo defender in the box, leading to the penalty shot. Senior midfielder/forward Lisa Kurz took the shot and converted at the 24:32 mark.

The Flashes turned the tables in the second half and went on their own scoring run. While holding the Rockets scoreless, Kent State tallied two more goals to nearly force overtime.

Kent State junior midfielder/forward Caitlin Hester took a shot from about 35 yards out. The shot caught Toledo goalkeeper Andrea Plewes off guard and found its way past her outstretched hands to make the score 4-2 in favor of Toledo. The goal came at the 57:37 mark of play.

The Flashes final goal came off the foot of Lisa Kurz on another penalty kick at 88:42. The penalty shot, again, came off of a tripping call when Dimitroff had the ball.

“I’m really proud of the way we came out in the second half,” Marinaro said. “The second half we came out and fought the way we know how. We played hard and almost pulled off an amazing comeback.”

The inability of Kent State to start the game off as strong as it finished is a re-occurring problem the team has had throughout the season. The Flashes were up and down all season, notching big wins while also allowing bad losses.

“We were inconsistent throughout the season,” Marinaro said. “We just didn’t put it all together for a long stretch.”

On Oct. 14, Toledo visited Kent, and was handed its first MAC loss of the season. It was the last of a streak in which the Flashes won four of five games. Since that point, four of the final five regular season games ended in losses, as well as their first round exit from the MAC Tournament Sunday.

Toledo now moves to the second round of the MAC Tournament. Second round matches take place Friday Nov. 9. The MAC Championship game is Sunday Nov. 11.

Contact soccer reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].