Women’s soccer looking to make improvements against Cleveland State, Valparaiso


Kent State freshman Jenna Hellstrom (right) defends the ball against St. Bonaventure’s Molly Curry (left) during their winning game, with a final score of 3-2, Friday, August 23, 2013. Photo by Leah Klafczynski.

Richie Mulhall

As the soccer season heads into Labor Day weekend, the Kent State women’s soccer team looks to improves upon its previous performances against two new challengers at home.

After starting off the season with an even 1-1 record, the Flashes will play host to the Cleveland State Vikings at 5 p.m. Friday and the Valparaiso Crusaders at 1 p.m. Sunday at Zoeller Field.

Head coach Rob Marinaro, who began his Kent State coaching career in 1997 as an assistant coach, called the Vikings (2-0) and Crusaders (1-1) “very good teams,” but said it was still too early in the season to worry about opponents. At this stage of the schedule, Marinaro wants to focus on his team and what it needs to do as the season goes on.

“We’ve got to come in on both [games this weekend] and give good, quality 90 minutes,” Marinaro said.

The team is coming off an opening week in which it split its first pair of weekend games including a 3-2 home victory over the St. Bonaventure Bonnies.

Despite St. Bonaventure’s 13-12 lead over Kent State in shots last Friday, the Flashes held on to a significant 11-5 lead in corner kicks as they clinched the win with a goal by freshman Jenna Hellstrom in the later minutes. Sunday was a different story, as the Flashes turned in a disappointing performance against Marshall and fell 3-0 to even their record at one.

Marinaro said the game last Sunday was “a little bit of a letdown”, but he thought it was a lesson well learned.

“[The team] came out training yesterday and was fantastic, so we’ll look to continue moving forward with that,” Marinaro said.

Marinaro said his team is progressing, but he would like to see the Flashes grow and develop a little quicker as a unit.

“There’s not a lot of preseason time, so it’s important to use these game to make sure we’re figuring out how we want to play and move forward in getting results,” Marinaro said.

Marinaro attributes the team’s progression to its senior players such as forward Jessacca Gironda who assisted on the team’s first goal of the season against St. Bonaventure. He praised their efforts and said their leadership has been crucial in “leading team in the right direction” thus far.

He couldn’t single out any player in particular, but he said that since soccer is ultimately a team-oriented sport, the Flashes focus more on the improvement of the team as a whole and less on certain players.

“We have a lot of individual talent,” Marinaro said. “Now we just need to be putting it together as a team.”

Contact Richie Mulhall at[email protected].