Kent State soccer struggles in conference opener

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 Kent State soccer team (4-5-1) had a tough weekend, dropping both of its conference-opening matchups despite having plenty of opportunities.

Eastern Michigan 2, Kent State 0

Kent State kicked off Mid-American Conference play with a 2-0 loss to Eastern Michigan.

This is the first time the Flashes have lost to Eastern Michigan since 2013.

“We didn’t match the effort that Eastern Michigan was showing, and unfortunately we fell on the short end of the game,” coach Rob Marinaro said.

Senior Ashleah McDonald started in goal and contributed to the Flashes strong first half defensive showing, which led to the score being knotted at zero at halftime.

Kent State lead in shots on goal 10-8.

“We were a little disorganized out on the field,” Marinaro said.

The second half started just as strong. Kent State again led in shots on goal but in the 70th minute Kristin Nason of Eastern Michigan scored.

In the 81st minute she scored again.

Central Michigan 2, Kent State 1

The Chippewas jumped out to an early lead in the 19th minute with a goal from Shannon Magnan. Neither team found the back of the net the rest of the first half.

“During the break we got ourselves organized and we came out a whole lot better,” Marinaro said. “We played a little more to our strengths in the second half.”

The Flashes came alive in the 53rd minute with a penalty kick goal from sophomore midfielder Vital Kats. However, Central Michigan soon struck back with a goal in the 68th minute from Natalie Belsito. 

“Unfortunately we let them get the game winner,” Marinaro said.

The Flashes have five days off before the next game on Friday, meaning Marinaro and the Flashes have ample time to make adjustments. 

“We need to regroup before Friday,” Marinaro said. “We need to get some kids healthy, and be ready to bounce back and show some productivity.”

A winner off the field

Senior defender Paige Culver was named this week as one of the 30 candidates for the CLASS award. The CLASS award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

“Paige has been doing fantastic work for us,” Marinaro said. “She is a wonderful person and a great leader. Everyday she works to improve.”

The Flashes return home to play Ball State (5-2-1) on Friday, Sept. 28th at 7 p.m. at Dix Stadium. 

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