Flashes’ road woes continue

Steve Voicik

Akron gets first victory over KSU soccer

The Kent State soccer team’s road struggles continued this weekend. The Flashes played crucial Mid-American conference games against Ohio Friday and cross-town rival Akron yesterday.

The Flashes were unable to record a victory and lost valuable points in the standings. The team is in a must win situation to be guaranteed a spot in the conference tournament. The team’s road record fell to 2-8-1 on the season after the pair of losses this weekend.

Friday, Kent State traveled to Athens to battle the Ohio Bobcats. Ohio, which was tied for third place in the conference heading into the game and was one spot ahead of the Flashes, defeated Kent State 3-2. Ohio struck within the first two minutes of the contest when Halle Plagens received a pass and took the ball up the middle of the field. She fired a shot in the lower right corner of the goal, past diving Kent State senior goalkeeper Alicia Fernandez. The Bobcats made it 2-0 midway through the first half off of a crossed ball and subsequent header by Amy Lower. w

Kent State’s answer was provided by an unlikely source in freshman defender Jackie Barath. Barath converted the first of her two goals with a 40-yard free kick that was out of the reach of Bobcats goalie Dominique Wright.

The excitement was short lived as Ohio answered back minutes later and put the game out of reach. Lower notched her second goal of the game as she received a pass and her shot was placed left past Fernandez.

Barath added a late second half goal for Kent State, putting in a loose ball in front of the net. The goals for Barath were the first two of her young career.

Friday’s loss was critical as Kent State slipped behind Ohio and Central Michigan and into a tie with Bowling Green for fifth place in the conference standings.

In the MAC tournament, the top four teams host the first-round playoff games, making yesterday afternoon’s rivalry game against Akron, all the more important.

Yesterday’s game conditions were anything but ideal. Cross-town rivals Kent State and Akron battled for 90 minutes at Lee Jackson Field in Akron, amidst constant wind, rain, and chilling temperatures. And for the first time since the teams inception six years ago, Akron defeated Kent State, 2-0.

Akron (11-6, 4-7 MAC) struck first on an impressive free kick. Standing a few feet in front of the midfield line, sophomore Danielle Walsh blasted a shot that could not be handled cleanly by Fernandez, and the ball slipped past the end line for the goal. Akron took a 2-0 lead late in the second half on a similar play. Another free kick was taken from midfield, the ball bounced off of the top cross bar when sophomore Jess Pomfret followed up with the easy putback, for the two-goal lead.

Kent State (8-9-1, 5-5, MAC) had several chances to get on the board in second half, but was unable to convert. The Flashes nearly scored as Jackie Barath’s cross into the goal box appeared to be deflected in by a teammate, but the referees ruled the ball had not crossed the end line. Junior Lisa Kurz had two good looks on goal in the second half, however one was just wide of the target and another was over the goal.

“When we get chances to score, we need to put them away,” Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said.

Kent State’s offensive was not at full strength, as leading goal scorer Caitlin Hester was sidelined with an an apparent ankle injury she sustained in the first half.

“Caitlin provides our team with a lot of offensive, but her injury gave some other players a chance to step-up and fill in,” Marinaro said.

Hester’s status for the Flashes final regular season game against Buffalo on Thursday was undetermined.

The Flashes conclude the regular season against Buffalo at home Thursday, with a playoff berth at stake.

Contact soccer reporter Steve Voicik at [email protected].