Flashes dominate in the rain, still washed out of the playoffs

Junior midfielder Maddie Holmes scores third goal during first half of game, Oct. 31, 2019. Kent State won 3-1 against Ohio University.

The Kent State women’s soccer team played a Halloween game marked by pouring rain, biting wind and a bittersweet victory.

Although they defeated Ohio University 3-1, the Flashes learned they would not make it into the Mid-American Conference tournament.

Shortly after the conclusion of the game, the team learned Eastern Michigan beat Central Michigan. With the win, Eastern Michigan advances to the MAC tournament and Kent State will miss the tournament for the first time since 2010. 

“I think it’s been nine years since we missed the playoffs,” coach Rob Marinaro said. “So this team and this program don’t really know how to deal with it. I would have loved to see this team with an opportunity in the playoffs, but unfortunately we don’t get that this year.”

Marinaro said the team played a great game against Ohio and could have played that well all season.

“You have got to give the team a lot of credit for coming out in a high pressure game and stepping up,” he said. “Ultimately, if we would have seen this performance from the beginning of the season, we could have seen some different results.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Faith O’Neill said she regrets that the team could not have played at a higher level earlier in the season.

“We are really happy with our performance, we came out and took it to the third seeded team (in the MAC).” O’Neill said. “Unfortunately it was too little, too late and we just missed out on the playoffs.”

The performance was a dominant one, with Kent scoring three early goals and Ohio struggling to get the ball past midfield in the first half.

All three goals came off corner kicks from junior Vital Kats and were knocked in by senior Sierra Henderson-Muschett, sophomore Tianna Harris and junior Maddie Holmes, respectively.

“I tried to put the ball right in there and use the wind to my advantage,” Kats said. “Just put it around the keeper where it’s dangerous. I’m glad my girls can put it away.”

Ohio was never able to overcome the deficit and could muster only one goal in the second half, as the Flashes locked down on defense and used the poor weather.

“Our team is great when it comes to weather adversity,” said O’Neill. “So we just kind of had fun with it. Once it started pouring, I looked around and we were all laughing.”

The team was emotional upon learning the season would not continue and that the seniors had just played their last game.

The team was emotional upon learning the season would not continue and that the seniors had just played their last game.

“(The seniors) were leaders and they accomplished a lot in the last four years,” Kats said. “So hopefully as an upcoming senior I can learn from them and help turn this into a winning team next year.”

Marinaro said losing his senior class would be hard but the team had gained a lot from them.

“It is an amazing group of young women,” he said. “They showed great leadership and are just really great people. We are going to continue that tradition from here.”

“They shaped us into the players that we are,” O’Neill said of the seniors. “That is going to live on into next season. We know what we are capable of and we’re excited to get a better result next year.”

The optimism for next year was echoed by Marinaro, who said missing the playoffs but ending on a good win would inspire the team next year.

“I think that it should make the team hungry for next year,” he said. “We have seen what they are capable of.”

Contact Owen MacMillan at [email protected]