Flashes soccer takes down Akron Zips

Carly Evans

Kent State soccer forwards senior Jenna Hellstrom and redshirt-junior Donavan Capehart’s chemistry on the field was key in its 4-0 win over The University ofAkron Thursday.

Both of Capehart’s goals, her fourth and fifth of the season, came off assists from Hellstrom.

“This whole year we’ve been combining really well together and setting each other up,” Hellstrom said. “We’re starting to play really well off of each other. Playing quick together and playing close together is the key for us to keep combining, and it’s really showing on the field.”

In the seventh minute the forwards were able to combine passes in the Zips’ penalty box, and Capehart scored the first goal of the game. She headed in her second goal in the 26th minute, after a cross from Hellstrom.

“We’ve been playing together now for three years, and we kind of balance each other,” Capehart said. “I think we just clicked from the first moment we started playing together.”

A strong defensive effort was also a key component of the Flashes win.

“Communication is always big on defense,” freshman defender Sierra Henderson-Muschett said. “If we keep the line tight dropping and stepping together they can’t really get through us.”

Both of Hellstrom’s goals came in the second half. She was able to bend a ball into the back of the net off a corner kick, and slip one past the Zips’ goalkeeper’s hands after a breakaway run. These goals tally the 31st and 32nd of her career, giving her the most goals by any player in program history. Hellstrom now holds program records for goals, assists, game-winning goals and multiple-assist games.

“Her competitiveness is probably the highest we’ve ever seen,” head coach Rob Marinaro said. “It gives the team confidence knowing they have a player like that. She’s a forward that can create a lot of opportunities within the team and also on her own.”

Though Hellstrom is aware of her many accomplishments, there’s really only one she’s chasing:

“They’re obviously great, but I don’t have a (championship) ring yet — so that’s our main focus, obviously,” Hellstrom said. “I think we’ll have a really good chance of doing what no other Kent State soccer team has done before.”

With the team’s ninth straight win, the thought of a Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship is not far from their minds. However, the Flashes are taking it one game at a time.

“We can’t be worried about anybody else but us, and we have all the momentum going for us,” Hellstrom said. “Teams are scared of us just because of how we’ve been doing so far. We can’t get bigheaded; we just have to keep calm, listen to the coaches, and have everyone play their role … it’ll work out for us in the end.”

The Flashes’ coaching staff has focused on having the team playing in the moment.

“Stop thinking about what has happened, what is about to happen and play in what I can make happen,” Marinaro said. “The team’s done a good job of focusing in and playing the best you can in that time.”

Kent State earned a point in the Crystal Clinic Orthopedic Center Wagon Wheel Challenge with the win.

The Akron Zips fell 3-8-2 on the season and 0-3-2 in the MAC.

The Flashes improved to 9-1 and 5-0 in the MAC.

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

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