In the six games the Kent State lacrosse team has lost this season it has given up at least eight unanswered points in each. That trend continued Thursday as the Flashes lost to Central Michigan University, giving up eight straight goals in the first half and losing 21-14.
“Lacrosse is a game of runs,” coach Brianne Tierney said. “We need to have the confidence to say, ‘Okay, they’re going to go on a big run? Then we’re going to go on a run and come back.’”
KSU kept it close early in the first, only being down 6-5. The Chippewas would then go on an 8-0 run to take a 14-5 lead into the half. The Flashes would attempt a comeback, pulling within four points, but it would fall short.
KSU is 3-6 (2-2 Mid-American Conference) and in third place in the MAC, while CMU is 6-5 (4-1 MAC) and in second.
Tierney said her team simply ran out of time.
“We got too far behind,” Tierney said. “But we hadn’t really been scoring a lot of goals against good teams like CMU, so that was good to see. The nice thing is we get to see them again soon, and we’ll be back stronger.”
Coming into the game, the Flashes were averaging only 5.5 goals per game in their losses this season.
Tierney said she was proud of her team for the fight they showed in their comeback attempt.
“They were being really smart,” she said. “Our offense did a better job reading their defense, and as a team we stopped panicking. We became a lot more patient and got some really good goals. The momentum finally shifted our way.”
The Flashes defense has given up an average of 16 goals per game this season, the worst in the MAC.
Tierney said the team’s defense needs to do a better job of giving the goalie a clear view of the ball.
“We love to just throw our sticks up in front of the ball,” she said. “But that’s actually counterproductive and makes it harder for our goalie to see. We need to work on getting our goalie space to see the shots a little bit easier.”
KSU’s offense had 25 turnovers, its highest this season. CMU had 19. The Flashes have more turnovers this season than any other team in the MAC.
“Our defense is doing a great job forcing turnovers,” Tierney said. “But we need to do a better job taking care of the ball. We can’t just turn it right back over and be forced to go back on defense because eventually the other team will make a big play.”
Junior midfielder Madison Rapier had a team-leading four goals. She is second in the MAC in goals per game with 2.89.
“She’s the toughest kid on the field,” Tierney said. “Nothing fazes her. She’s such a confident player. She puts the team on her back every week, and she’s only going to get better.”
Rapier had a career-high nine draw controls, a Kent program record.
The Chippewas edged KSU in draw controls 20-17, but Tierney said she was still impressed by her team’s performance.
“We have a complete package when it comes to the draw controls,” Tierney said. “Morgan Kubicki is our initial drawer. She goes in there and does a great job reading the other team. Then, she comes back and tells our other players, like Rapier or Jackie Wolford, what to do. It sets us up for success.”
The Flashes face a tough challenge at first place Robert Morris University (8-2, 4-0 MAC) next Friday in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.
Tierney said today’s game was a great way to prepare for the Colonials.
“We showed today that we are good enough to put up a lot of goals against a very good team,” she said. “And that gives us a lot of confidence. But there is also pressure because if we want a shot at the championship, we need to win this next game.”
Jimmy Oswald is a sports reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.