Women’s soccer team kicks off season with hard-fought tie

Dante Centofanti

The Kent State women’s soccer team began its regular season Friday night at Dix Stadium with a hard-fought battle. The team tied the Cleveland State Vikings 0-0 in double overtime. In a game that lasted two hours and 18 minutes, the Flashes failed to score on 21 shots and 11 shots on goal. 

Junior midfielder Vital Kats attributed for eight of those shots and three of those shots on goal.

“The team battled to the end from whistle to whistle,” she said. “I kw that most teams will have an eye on me now so I have to change my game a little bit.”

Kats was one of the top MAC players in 2018 and was named to the all-MAC first team in her sophomore campaign. 

The Flashes were on the attack offensively for the majority of the first half with three players having multiple shot attempts and three players with multiple shot on goal attempts.

“I think the final product was missing a little bit tonight for us but I’m really proud of our effort,” said coach Rob Marinaro. “I think the players that played were great and you’ve got to give Cleveland State credit. We saw a lot of things we can continue to build on.”

Cleveland State’s junior goalkeeper Stevie Holbrook had 11 saves in this season opener. 

The Flashes goalie, redshirt sophomore Faith O’Neill, had two key saves of her own in the 25th minute, and a game saving one in the 88th minute. 

“Honestly nothing goes through my mind,” O’Neill said. “The best saves and plays you don’t think and just do. Whether it’s a save or a good opportunity it can just change the momentum of the game and work in your favor.”

In overtime the Flashes nearly scored several times. Kats had a shot on goal in the 96th minute that did not manage to get past the strong grip of Cleveland State’s Stevie Holbrook.

“We were pressing really hard to get that goal,” Marinaro said. “Kats fits in really well with us and I think right now she might be pressing a little bit hard to try and create things for us. Once we build a little confidence in the attack, goals will eventually come.”

Up next for Kent State is a trip to Boulder, Thursday, August 29, to take on Colorado at 6:30 p.m. 

“It’s going to be a learning opportunity…we just have to take it one game at a time,” Kats said.

Dante Centofanti is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]