Ohio suffers defeat in home finale against Kent State

The Ohio women’s soccer team (7-7-5, 3-5-3 MAC) earned an early lead through freshman phenom Lexi Milesky, but just like their game against Central Michigan earlier in the season, the ‘Cats relinquished their lead and never got it back.

Star striker Jessacca Gironda scored two goals, including a first-half penalty, which gave the Golden Flashes (12-7-0, 7-4-0 MAC) a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Ohio Bobcats at a rainy Chessa Field Thursday afternoon.

“In the last two games, we have given up two goals by not paying enough attention to detail,” Ohio head coach Aaron Rodgers said. “Despite that, we out-possessed them for the majority of the game, and we had a little bit more of a will to win in the second half.”

Milesky’s strike, her fourth of the season, came off a corner kick, which was executed by sophomore holding midfielder Leah Sandercock. Gironda kept her cool from the spot to level the score at one, and her second goal of the match, which was her 14th of the season, came from outside the box and beat an out-stretched Mattie Liston.

Even though they tasted defeat for the seventh time this season, the Green and White held a 12-10 advantage in shots and an 11-9 advantage in corner kicks.

Senior goalkeeper Liston made four saves in the first half. After halftime, Liston was replaced by junior goalkeeper Nicole Amari, who made two saves in the second half. Stephanie Senn made four saves in the match for the visiting Golden Flashes.

Following two straight defeats, the Bobcats will be the No. 8 seed in the MAC Tournament. They will take on No. 1 seed Eastern Michigan. The Eagles defeated the ‘Cats, 3-0, at Chessa Field on Oct. 18. Kent State finished MAC play with 21 points, and they earned a date with No. 4 seed Western Michigan.

Kent State got the action started on six minutes. Junior forward Stephanie Haugh took a shot at goal, and Liston was able to keep her shot out of the back of the net.

Four minutes later, Ohio took the lead through Milesky. Sandercock whipped in a corner from the right side, and after a scramble in the box, the Plain City, Ohio, native’s shot went past Senn to give Aaron Rodgers exactly what he was looking for.

“We had to fight in the box,” Milesky said. “It was not a pretty goal, but Maggie (Murnane) was sliding in the box as was Gabby (Hausfeld).”

Milesky also said the goal got Ohio to focus more in the game and that the goal gave the team an added energy.

On 19 minutes, Kent State was able to equalize through Gironda. After the referee awarded a penalty kick to the visitors, Gironda’s shot was placed into the left corner of the goal to give Kent State the momentum.

Gironda was able to tally her second of the match on 28 minutes. The Akron, Ohio, native found herself outside the 18-yard box on the right side of the field, and her shot flew past a diving Liston to complete the comeback.

Two minutes before halftime, freshman forward Alli Cislo tried her luck at goal, but Senn was able to preserve Kent State’s lead.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Ohio came close to leveling proceedings. Freshman midfielder Kinsey Swartztrauber had a chance to tie the score at two, but Senn came to the rescue for Kent.

Swartztrauber picked up an injury later in the match. Rodgers is not sure if the freshman will be available for Sunday’s clash against Eastern Michigan.

Four minutes after Swartztrauber’s effort, the Golden Flashes nearly put the game away. Jaclyn Dutton took her chance at goal, but backup ‘keeper Amari made the stop.

On 72 minutes, Sasha Haverchak put Senn to the test. The Akron, Ohio, native unleashed a shot from distance, and Senn pushed the ball away from the near post to keep the score 2-1.

With four minutes remaining, Murnane saw her chance go wide of the goal.

The next loss the Bobcats suffer will be their last of the season, and Milesky is hopeful the team does not experience a loss in the MAC Tournament.

“It’s either we go on or go home,” Milesky said. “We have to win (Sunday).”

After today’s loss, Rodgers is looking for a response from his team.

“They (Eastern Michigan) beat us handily the first time we played them,” Rodgers said. “This is redemption for us, and we must take care of the details.”

Ohio’s matchup against Eastern Michigan will take place in Ypsilanti, Mich. on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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