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2023 MACtion on the Pitch: Finals and NCAA Tournament Selection

After trailing 1-0 early, Ohio scored two second half goals to capture their first MAC tournament championship in program history

Ohio women’s soccer celebrates their first MAC tournament title in program history.
Ohio Athletics

Welcome back to MACtion on the Pitch. After an incredible season of MAC soccer, it came down to one game to decide the tournament champion: The Ohio Bobcats and the Kent State Golden Flashes.

One final game of MACtion on the Pitch, and an NCAA tournament berth to be determined.

How did we get here?

Ohio snuck in on Decision Day to become the sixth seed, then upset Ball State in the quarterfinals and Bowling Green in the semifinals to earn their berth in the championship match.

Kent State earned the fourth seed, handling their business against NIU in the quarterfinal, and then trouncing the top-seeded Broncos in the semifinal to reach the title match.

The Flashes looked to win their first title since 2016, while the Bobcats were seeking their first-ever trophy.

Game Highlights

Kent State would get off to a very quick start. Just 2:34 into the game, Kent State’s Alanna Raimondo got the Flashes on the board first with an assist from Alisa Arthur. Check out Raimondo’s goal below. (Credit MACSports/X)

Ohio would put pressure on the Kent State defense throughout the first half, forcing Kent State keeper Sarah Melén to make six saves in the first half. Kent State bent— but did not break— taking the 1-0 halftime lead at the break.

The Bobcats got busy once again after the second-half whistle blew, getting their first shot off only 1:27 into the half, but Melén would make her seventh save of the game. Ohio would finally break through in the 56th minute, killing Melén’s eight-save streak on a crucial Kali Stock equalizer from an assist by Quintin Tostevin to tie the game at 1-1.

It only took eight minutes for the momentum to change hands, with Scout Murray scoring the second Bobcat goal with assists from Carsyn Prigge and Izzi Boyd. Just like that, Ohio was up 2-1 in the 65th minute. Check out Murray’s goal below. (Credit: MACSports/X)

Kent State, suddenly finding themselves trailing, fought to get back into contention but struggled to get anything established. Finally, with 4:28 to go, the Flashes would get a shot on goal, but Ohio keeper Celeste Sloma would save it to maintain the 2-1 Bobcat lead.

The final whistle sounded, and Ohio celebrated their first tournament championship— and NCAA tournament berth— in program history. Kent State had a wonderful season, but just fell short. They finished as runner up for the second time in three years.

Head coach Aaron Rodgers and Scout Murray shared some words after their historic win. (Credit MACSports/X)

Goal of the Final

The goal of the final goes to Ohio’s Kali Stock. The momentum shift was huge after this fantastic goal for the Bobcats. (Credit: Ohio Soccer/X)

All-MAC Tournament Team

  • Scout Murray, Ohio - Tournament MVP
  • Eve Berish - Ohio
  • Celeste Sloma - Ohio
  • Callie Cunningham - Kent State
  • Alisa Arthur - Kent State
  • Siena Stambolich - Kent State
  • Madi Canada - Western Michigan
  • Bria Telemaque - Western Michigan
  • Makenzie Ortman - Bowling Green
  • Isabelle Gilmore - Bowling Green

Up Next

The NCAA tournament selection show took place on Monday afternoon, with the newly-minted champion Ohio Bobcats drawing the Michigan State Spartans in the first round of play.

The Spartans are 12-4-3 overall, with a 7-1-2 mark in Big Ten play. They had a five-game unbeaten run (4-0-1) to end the regular season before losing in the Big Ten quarterfinals to Iowa.

The contest is set to take place in East Lansing, Michigan at DeMartin Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for Friday, November 10th, at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

The winner of Ohio/Michigan State will move on to face the winner of the Maine/Harvard game in the second round.