Flashes win double overtime thriller to stay alive

Steve Voicik

The sixth-ranked Kent State soccer team advanced to the semi-final round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, defeating the third-seeded Central Michigan Chippewas yesterday afternoon in double overtime by a score of 5-4. It was the second straight year the Flashes bounced the Chippewas from the tournament after defeating them 1-0 in last year’s semi-final stage.

The game was expected to be a low-scoring defensive battle, featuring two of the league’s top goaltenders in Kent State’s Alicia Fernandez and Central’s Anne Decker, who have combined for 44 career shutouts. However, Kent State’s offense dominated the day. The two teams set a MAC tournament record for goals in a tournament match with nine, and the five goals posted by Kent State, were the most since the 2002 season.

Kent State freshman Beth Diederich struck first from 6 yards out on a one-timer for the first goal of the game and her career.

Central Michigan answered quickly with two goals in the span of two minutes to recapture the lead.

Junior All-MAC forward Kimberly Dimitroff continued to climb the record book as she notched her 25th goal of the season late in the first half of play.

The offensive explosion continued into the second half as Central Michigan began scoring. Central Michigan converted on a penalty kick early in the second half to put the Chippewas ahead 3-2.

Kent State sophomore midfielder Caitlin Hester added a goal in her return to the field after sitting out the regular-season finale against Buffalo with an injury. Hester’s goal tied the game at three.

The Flashes went ahead 4-3 on a goal by Lisa Kurz. Kurz blasted a shot past goalkeeper Anne Decker, firing the ball into the upper left corner of the goal.

Central Michigan again answered back on a goal from Alison Heydorn, her second of the match, who headed in a long throw-in.

The Chippewas nearly pulled out the victory in overtime, but it was the goal-line play of Megan Hill that knocked away Heydorn’s game-winning attempt and led to the eventual win by the Flashes.

Kurz put in the game-winner on a penalty kick in double overtime, sending the team into the semi-final portion of the MAC tournament. It was Kurz’ first multiple-goal game of her career, and she now leads the team with seven goals.

The Flashes will now take on Northern Illinois Friday at Toledo’s campus.

Contact sports reporter Steve Voicik at [email protected].