Women’s lacrosse beats Akron in final seconds for third straight win

Members+of+the+Kent+State+lacrosse+team+celebrate+after+defeating+Akron+in+Kent%2C+Ohio+on+Saturday%2C+April+2

David Dermer

Members of the Kent State lacrosse team celebrate after defeating Akron in Kent, Ohio on Saturday, April 2

Jacob Shondel , Reporter

All season long, Kent State’s lacrosse team has ended practice by rehearsing strategy for the last minute of a close game.

Saturday, the Flashes executed that plan in the final 22 seconds to edge the Zips 10-9 for KSU’s third victory in a row. 

Akron had scored with 49 seconds remaining to tie the game at 9-9. 

Freshman midfielder Sidney Dering won the crucial following draw, and Kent State called a timeout with 37 seconds. 

The Flashes advanced the ball up the left side of the field, and found sophomore attacker Jackie Wolford left of the goal. She passed to junior attacker Morgan Kubicki, who flipped it back to Wolford, who found junior attacker Kenzie Sklar cutting through a wall of Zip defenders 10 yards in front of the net. Sklar rifled a shot past the goalie’s left shoulder for the winning score.

“We set up our fast break,” Sklar said. “Once Akron started to double team Wolford I saw an opportunity to get behind the defense.”

The win gave KSU its first three-game winning streak in the four-year history of women’s lacrosse at Kent State. It also ended a two-game losing streak to Akron and avenged an 11-6 loss to the Zips on Feb. 23.

The Flashes sit in fourth place in the Mid-American Conference with a 2-4 league record (5-8 overall). The Zips fall to 1-5 and are tied for fifth in the MAC. They are 2-11 overall.

Coach Brianne Tierney said that the Flashes’ game plan emphasized aggressive ball movement down the field.

“We had to share the ball more in the midfield to succeed against Akron this time,” Tierney said. “I was prepared to see more turnovers than normal, but one person was not going to be able to advance the ball against this defense.

“Those passes translated to ones around the goal. We ended with seven assists,  which are numbers I haven’t seen all year.”

The Flashes held Akron scoreless for the last 14:15 of the second quarter and led 6-3 at halftime. That has been a good sign all year: Going into the game, they had been 4-1 when leading at the half. 

Wolford had four goals and two assists. She has now scored four goals in four consecutive games. 

“She is hitting on all cylinders right now,” Tierney said. “Teams have started to make adjustments on her, but she is playing one step ahead of our opponents.”

KSU held an 8-6 lead after three quarters, but the Zips scored two goals and saved three KSU shots in the last eight minutes to tie the game. 

The Flashes had 32 shots, with 23 on goal. The Zips had 31 shots, with 21 on goal. 

Sklar scored three goals, and senior midfielder Abby Jones had three assists and a goal.

Sophomore goalie Taylor Monturo got her first win of the year as a starter, notching 12 saves and a team-high five ground balls. 

Tierney is looking forward to the next game against league-leader Robert Morris (6-6, 6-0 MAC).

“I would love to beat them,” she said. “Our last game against them built up our confidence, and I think we match up pretty well against them.

“We’ve seen them so many times and have not yet had the chance to come out on top yet.”

Kent State will take on the Colonials Saturday in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. Robert Morris beat the Flashes 11-8 on March 2. 

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