Flashes top NIU in final regular-season home game


Kent State sophomore midfielder Vital Kats tries to win the ball away from Butler’s Gabby Smith during the first half of their matchup on Aug. 19, 2018. Butler beat the Flashes, 3-1.

Gina Butkovich

The last home game of the regular season resulted in a decisive win for the Kent State soccer team (9-7-2, 5-4-1 Mid-American Conference), as the Flashes recorded a 6-0 over Northern Illinois (2-15, 1-8 MAC).

“The team played 90 quality minutes today,” coach Rob Marinaro said.

The Flashes got an early start when sophomore forward Cameron Shedenhelm scored from the left side of the field to give the Flashes a 1-0 lead in the 4th minute. The Flashes also scored in the first four minutes in the game prior, a 4-3 loss to Western Michigan.

“We learned from our let down on Thursday,” Marinaro said. “We weren’t going to allow it to happen again.”

The Flashes controlled the ball for a majority of the first 12 minutes, outshooting the Huskies 5-0.

Senior defender Paige Culver scored her second goal of the season on a free kick assist from sophomore midfielder Vital Kats in the 30th minute to put the Flashes up 2-0.

Kats kept the action going in the 35th minute with a goal on passes from sophomore midfielder Maddie Holmes and junior forward Maddie LaVigna.

The Flashes entered the halftime break 3-0.

“During the half we talked about not having any letdowns and how we needed to go into the second even stronger,” Marinaro said.

The Flashes did just that.

Kats opened up the scoring with her second goal of the game from point blank range in the 56th minute.

By the 70th minute the Flashes had controlled possession throughout the match and led in shots, 22-2. Those shots payed off in the 78th minute when senior forward Dominique DiNardo scored on an assist from Kats.

The 6-0 win over NIU was the second most goals scored in a match in program history for Kent State. Kats recorded six points herself in the victory.

“We created a lot of opportunities today and we finished those opportunities,” Marinaro said.

Kent State travels down to Ohio University (8-6-3, 6-2-2 MAC) on Thursday at 3 p.m. in the regular-season finale.

“We want to stay aggressive and get a good start,” Marinaro said.

Gina Butkovich is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected].