Soccer continues Wagon Wheel Challenge with Zips

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10/6/16 Kent State soccer

Carly Evans

The Kent State soccer team (8-1) will take on rival The University of Akron (3-7-2) Thursday as part of the Crystal Clinic Orthopedic Center Wagon Wheel Challenge.

“It’s always fun to play them, especially because of the rivalry,” said senior midfielder Abbie Lawson. “It’s always a game in the air — you never know what’s going to happen. There’s always a lot of energy, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Each of the 14 sports have a chance to win one point for their school in the Wagon Wheel Challenge. To win, a school must reach 7.5 points. The Zips won last season, after beating the Flashes 7.5 points to 6.5.

The Flashes look forward to competing in this year’s challenge.

“It means a lot to our school and our athletic program,” said senior forward Jenna Hellstrom. “I think if we can get the point Thursday, it’s not only for our team, but the athletic program.”

Junior redshirt-forward Donavan Capehart was named the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week ahead of this week’s game.

“I think it’s pretty cool to get some attention for Kent State,” Capehart said. “It’s a confidence booster for myself and for my team because if one of our players is doing well offensively, the whole team is doing well offensively.”

The Flashes have the opportunity to win their ninth straight game with a win over Akron.

“We’re just taking one game at a time,” Hellstrom said. “Anything can happen in the MAC — there’s not one team that can blow anybody else out. Whoever comes out to play that game can take over the match.”

Despite the excitement of the Wagon Wheel Challenge, the Flashes are concentrating on staying focused.

“We want to come out with a good quality first half to get ourselves going and then making sure we follow up with a strong second half,” said head coach Rob Marinaro. “It’s been our focus all year long, and will continue to be our focus. We have to play in the moment and focus in on what’s right in front of us.”

Kent State will return home Sunday to play University at Buffalo at 1 p.m.

Carly Evans is a sports reporter, contact [email protected]