Kent State soccer to face top MAC teams

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Sophomore forward Hayden Pascoe makes a pass during a game against The University of Louisville at Zoeller Field on Friday August 30, 2015. The Flashes ended the game in a 2-2 tie.

Dan Armelli

The Kent State women’s soccer team will face two tough opponents this weekend as it travels to Ball State and Miami of Ohio.

On Friday, the Flashes, 7-3-2 and 3-1 in the MAC, will take on the only team still undefeated in MAC play: the Ball State Cardinals (8-2-2, 4-0).

The Cardinals ousted the Flashes last year in the first round of the MAC tournament.

Ball State will look to extend its five-game winning streak and maintain its lead in the MAC West Division.

Despite Ball State’s current standing in the MAC, Flashes head coach Rob Marinaro said the opponent’s record is not something the team is focused on.

“I think as a team we’ve always talked about, once we’re in conference, whoever’s ahead of us, that’s who we’re looking forward to,” he said. “We’re looking to compete even better on Friday than what we did this past weekend. Those are our goals.”

The Flashes will be without junior forward Jenna Hellstrom, the team’s leading scorer, after receiving her fifth yellow card of the year last Sunday.

The Flashes will still have firepower on offense led by redshirt sophomore forward Donavan Capehart. Her career-high seven goals this year matches Hellstrom’s team high from last year.

Capehart recently scored a hat trick against Northern Illinois on Sunday in a season-high, seven-goal effort by Kent State.

The Flashes will then travel to Miami of Ohio on Sunday to face the Redhawks that were picked to win the MAC before the season started.

Kent State has not been able to beat Miami in the last five years, but will have Hellstrom back to help its cause.

The Flashes are at the top of the most offensive statistical categories in the MAC, including: points per game (7.08), goals per game (2.25) and assists per game (2.58).

Meanwhile, the Redhawks lead the MAC in goals allowed per game (.73) and goals against average (.73). Miami junior goalkeeper Vic Maniaci also leads the MAC in goals against average (.69) along with save percentage (.86) and is in the top 50 in the nation in both categories.

Marinaro says he will not have to temper scoring expectations on Sunday because those aren’t the type of expectations the team carries from game-to-game.

“Our expectations are from where we create,” he said. “We’re looking to create as many opportunities as we can. Obviously we have two great opponents this weekend, so it’s going to be more challenging. But we’re offensively based and we’re going to look to create as many opportunities as we can.”

The Flashes face Ball State on Friday.

Miami will play Ohio University on Friday before its match with Kent State on Sunday.

Hellstrom wins second MAC player of the week award

For the second time this season, Jenna Hellstrom was named MAC offensive player of the week.

She finished last weekend with a goal and an assist in each of the Flashes’ wins against Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. Her goal against the Broncos was a game-winner in the eighty-sixth minute.  

Hellstrom has credited having another year as a forward under her belt to help her break out offensively this year and have a better “forward mentality.”

“Jenna, along with all of our forwards, are dynamic and… playing a lot more aggressive this year,” Marinaro said. “That’s where we’re seeing a lot more success from all of them….I’m really pleased with the way our entire forward line has played.”

Hellstrom has already reached multiple statistical career highs and is also leading the MAC in some of the same categories.

Through 12 games, Hellstrom has already accomplished:

  • Career highs in points (26), goals (9), assists (8), and game-winners (4)

  • 2.17 points per game: first in MAC, tied for sixth in the NCAA

  • 0.75 goals per game: first in MAC, tied for twenty-third in the NCAA

  • 0.67 assists per game: first in MAC, tied for seventh in the NCAA

  • 4 game-winning goals: tied for first in MAC, tied for ninth in NCAA

Dan Armelli is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]