The weekend for the Kent State women’s soccer team got off to a rocky start with a 3-1 loss to the Bowling Green Falcons (6-4-2, 4-0) Friday night at Dix Stadium. 

The Flashes trailed early after a goal from Bowling Green forward Nikki Cox. Bowling Green midfielder Nikhita Jacob followed up with another score in the 13th minute to give the Falcons at 2-0 lead going into the half. Coach Rob Marinaro talked about the physicality of the match.

“We really went away from trying to produce some of the attack that we wanted to do, and we got caught up in a physical game along with not playing our style of soccer,” he said. 

Karly Hellstrom scored her fourth goal of the season in minute 52. However it was not enough to propel a comeback with the Falcons taking on a late goal in the 59th minute by freshman forward Kennedy White. 

Soccer v Toledo

Junior midfielder Vital Kats high fives teammates while she runs onto the field before the game against the University of Toledo begins on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.

The team defeated the near last place Toledo Rockets (3-9, 0-4), 3-0 on Sunday. Junior midfielder Vital Kats has been relatively quiet in the scoring department this season, but the junior midfielder netted two goals in minutes 28 and 53 with assists on both by junior forward Cameron Shedenhelm. Shedenhelm netted her own goal in minute 88 as the Flashes rolled to a second conference victory. Kats talked about her performance and things she’s adjusted in her game going into the heart of conference play with four goals on the season.

“It was a fight and even though it wasn’t as nice as we would’ve liked it, the fight was there,” she said. “I have to step up with MAC play in full effect and focusing more on my finishing will help me as conference play continues. 

Along with the stellar offense, the defense of the Flashes once again showed up on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore goalkeeper Faith O’Neil recorded her fourth shutout of the season as well as her 40th save. Marinaro described how there was a little change to his defensive strategy in yesterday’s match.

“We defended very well as a team, and against set pieces,” Marinaro said. “We continue to gain experience into what works for us and what doesn’t.”

Soccer v Toledo

Senior defender/forward Maddie Lavigna heads the ball during Kent State's game against the University of Toledo on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.

After the game, senior defender Sierra Henderson-Muschett talked about the team’s shutdown defense on the season thus far. 

“The beginning of the season we definitely struggled getting the ball in the back of the net, and we had to rely a lot on our defense because we have a lot of experience back there with me and Amanda (Reed), both seniors, and then we have a transfer from Mississippi State, (Tianna Harris).” 

Henderson-Muschett said, “Coach Marinaro tells us in the huddle to crush the opposing team’s spirit early and everything for our team starts from the back. When we are under control and are dominating, that leads up to the rest of the field, including the offense.”

The team now improves to (4-5-2, 2-1-1) on the season, and stands tied for fourth with Western Michigan at seven points. They travel to the Univeristy of Buffalo Thursday to play the Bulls at 7 p.m., and travel back home to play rival Akron Sunday at 1 p.m.

Contact Dante Centofanti at dcentof1@kent.edu.

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