With a minute and a half into Kent State's Wednesday afternoon game against Liberty, Abby Jones ran down the field, slightly bobbling the ball. From the left side of the goal she flipped the ball to Lluna Katz who scored the Flashes first goal of the day. The goal came after a great save by goalie Grace Merrill.
Merrill and the Flashes defense struggled to hold the Flames off the rest of the way however, as Kent State fell to Liberty, 23-6.
“I think the one nice thing that they've consistently done from game one through now is played as hard as they can for as long as they can," coach Brianne Tierney said. "They don't really give up or never really gave up on any game regardless of the score. So that's a pretty neat quality to have."
Liberty's Kayla Foster scored to knot the game up at 1-1 before the Flames got goals from Anna Keebler and Jenna Joyal to take the lead.
The Flashes defense struggled with the Flames offense with a couple of back-to-back goals from Keebler, Foster, and Andrea Colavito on a free position shot. Liberty went on to score five more goals jumping out to a 9-1 lead over Kent State.
In the 10th minute of the game Liberty's Kaitlyn Cassidy-Fischetti passed it to Leah Ruby who sailed a shot past pass Merrill. 11 seconds later Cassidy-Fischetti scored her first goal of the game on an assist by Mia Toscano.
In the 15 minute mark of the game, Jones sprinted down the field past a defender and put the ball in the back of the net.
“I think we put up a good fight and it was a good game," Jones said. "I just thought that we played well as a team. It's nice. It felt good."
The Flames ended the first half on a goal by Hannah Quast with an assist from Morgan Learn.
Liberty opened up the second half with a goal from Grace Fletcher with an assist from Foster. During the fifth minute, White passed the ball to Joyal for her third goal on the day.
Kent’s defense still struggled to hold off Liberty’s offense as Fletcher snuck through defenders on a free position shot to score in the 22nd minute.
“I think skills wise, we've just come a long way just playing two hours of lacrosse and just kind of jelling and, and being able to read what each other likes to do on the field or what they're looking to do,” Tierney said.
The Flashes forced five turnovers against the Flames, while Liberty caused 10 against Kent State. Liberty also won the draw controls, 18-7.
In the 12 minute of the second half, the Flashes scored for the third time when Jones flipped the ball to Eva Nikolai. Katz scored her second goal of the game on a free position shot.
Merrill had 12 saves before being relieved by Bridgette Kiefer who allowed three goals and had one save. Katz and Jones led the Flashes with two goals while Nikolai and Rapier had one each. Jones finished the game with three assists.
With a minute left, Jones tossed the ball to Madison Rapier who flipped the ball in the net. 50 seconds later Jones bounced the ball into the net on a free position shot.
“I think, you know, the game experience is going to give us a lot of confidence where, you know, we are maybe getting called on some rules that they just weren't used to or didn't have experience with that, we're not getting called for anymore and more so that's awesome going into next year,” Tierney said.
Amanda Levine is a sports reporter. Contact her at email@example.com.