For the second game in a row the Kent State lacrosse team lost the draw control battle by double digits.
And for the second game in a row the Flashes lost the game, falling to Marquette University 19-8.
Junior midfielder Madison Rapier called draw control one of the most important parts of the game.
“Draw controls win games,” she said. “The most important thing we’ve been working on is our communication with our draw takers. We’re trying to be better about where the ball is going once we have it and how we should be tracking the ball.”
The Golden Eagles won 19 draws to KSU’s nine.
Last week, Fresno State had 22 draws to the Flashes’ 10.
Coach Brianne Tierney said draw controls involve a lot of instinct and in-game adjustments.
“We’ve made draw controls our focus the past few days,” she said. “But we need to start teaching it differently and improving on them.”
Tierney added that the Golden Eagles had a great day at the face-off.
“Marquette had some kids do a phenomenal job there,” she said. “It seemed like for every answer we had for them, they had a third answer back.”
The Flashes kept it close early on after a KSU goal made it 2-1. However, Marquette would control the rest of the half and go into halftime with a 9-3 lead. The Golden Eagles would score eight unanswered points to start the second half, but KSU would go on a 5-2 run to end the game.
The Flashes fall to 0-2 with the loss and are in last place in the Mid-American Conference. Marquette improves to 2-2.
Rapier said the team wants to make this “a turning point for the program.”
“We want to change the way we play,” she said. “We’re focused on getting our momentum up earlier and faster in the games, especially in the first half.
Tierney said for the second week in a row the Flashes’ spark came too late.
“We made a good run there at the end,” she said. “But it was too little too late for us. We made some adjustments and some players did an awesome job at the end.”
Rapier had a team-leading three goals along with two draw controls.
“[Rapier’s] edge is her mental strength,” Tierney said. “She does a great job at tracking the ball and reading her defender. She’s a confident player and can hold her own against anybody.”
Rapier said she stepped up her performance because something needed to happen.
“We hit this point in the second half where we all agreed we needed to do something,” she said. “My mindset was focused on changing the momentum, getting some goals and getting our energy back up.”
Junior attacker Megan Kozar had two goals on two shots on goal.
“[Kozar] is a great asset all around,” Rapier said. “She makes plays whether we’re on defense or on the attack. She’s all over the place and helps create a ton of opportunities.”
Tierney said that Kozar is “an emotional leader.”
“She knows how to win and has that attitude,” Tierny said. “You can see a sense of urgency and panic when she isn’t out there. And that really speaks to her. She has this calmness and coolness about her.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Madison Flannigan started the match and allowed 12 goals with seven saves and a save percentage of .368.
For the second straight week Flannigan was replaced by freshman Taylor Monturo in the second half. Monturo allowed seven goals with two saves and a save percentage of .222.
Tiereny said the defense came out too slow in the second half.
“We came in and sat back a little bit,” she said. “And that didn’t work out for us. But when we were pressuring out and causing turnovers, we were much more comfortable. And we’ll continue to push that agenda.”
Next the Flashes will play 3-0 Robert Morris on Wednesday in their first MAC game in program history.
Rapier said the team is determined to come out stronger.
“This is the MAC conference,” she said. “We’ve never been in a conference that represents Kent State like all the other teams. We want to come out and make a statement, to show that we belong.”
Jimmy Oswald is a sports reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.