Lacrosse team loses after last second goal in final seconds

Sophomore+midfielder+Madison+Rapier+%2810%29+shoots+the+ball+during+the+women%E2%80%99s+lacrosse+game+on+Mar.+10%2C+2020.+Kent+State+University+lost+to+Saint+Francis+Unveristy+13-18.

Sophomore midfielder Madison Rapier (10) shoots the ball during the women’s lacrosse game on Mar. 10, 2020. Kent State University lost to Saint Francis Unveristy 13-18.

Jacob Shondel , Reporter

Kent State’s lacrosse team played its most complete game of the season Thursday — until the final five seconds.

Youngstown State scored just before the final buzzer and defeated the Flashes 21-20.

Kent State had led more of the game, but YSU took a 20-18 lead on two quick goals with about three minutes to go.

But KSU came back with two goals of its own in the last 1:40 to tie the game. Attacker Megan Kozar rifled a free position shot that bounced past the YSU goalie to make it 20-19 with 1:39 remaining. Forty-five seconds later, attacker Jackie Wolford found the back of the net with a shot from about six feet in front of the net, tying the game.

The teams traded turnovers, then the Penguins gained possession and called a timeout with five seconds left in the game.

YSU took the ball 30 yards from the goal, and YSU attacker Erin Clark passed two KSU defenders and fired a pass to midfielder Lauren Ottensmeyer in front of the goal. Ottensmeyer bounced a shot past Kent State goalkeeper Madison Flannigan as time expired.

The Youngstown sideline rushed the field as the Flashes stood in disbelief.

“It’s a tough way to lose a game,” coach Brianne Tierney said. “I thought that this was our best game of the season. We got off to a fast start and kept that momentum going throughout the game.

“I wish we had those five seconds back at the end of the game. It was a learning experience on what to do in those situations. Not too many times do you see a game-winning shot like that.”

KSU falls to 2-7 and 0-4 in the Mid-American Conference. YSU improves to 5-3 and 3-0 in the league. The Flashes remain last in the conference; the Penguins are tied for first.

Unlike Kent State’s two previous games against Central Michigan and Marquette, when they were outscored 17-2, The Flashes got off to a strong start and led 7-3 after the first quarter.

Tierney said the Flashes adjusted well to Youngstown State’s defense.

“They are a high pressure and athletic defense, making us earn our possessions and goals throughout the game,” she said. “We were able to handle that well by passing the ball better during our clears than in our previous games.”

Seeing the offense succeed throughout the game was good to see, Tierney said.

“Being able to score 20 goals was awesome,” she said. “We haven’t done that all year; It was nice to see us play a complete game and never let up.”

Tierney said the players have been pushing each other at practice.

“They’ve been challenging each other every day at practice to be out there on game day to make a difference,” she said. “We want to mix it up on the attack getting different people out there throughout the game.

“When you have six players scoring multiple goals, you know that they’re trusting each other and not relying on one person to do the scoring for us.”

Tierney was happy to see the team continue to fight after falling behind.

“Going down two goals with three minutes left can deflate a team,” she said. “I just hope that we can build on the confidence going into Saturday’s game.”

A major factor in the game was YSU’s margin in free-position shots. The Flashes made only one; the Penguins had 12 and made six.

“It would have been nice to see a few more calls go our way, but we also can’t be committing that many fouls in close games,” Tierney said.

KSU had 32 shots, with 25 on goal; YSU had 39 shots, with 34 on goal.

Kent State takes on Saint Francis of Pennsylvania (2-4) Saturday for its last non-conference game of the season.

Jacob Shondel is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].