Dutton plays close to home


Sophomore forward Jaclyn Dutton. Photo by Philip Botta.

Matt Lofgren

Sitting in the dry heat of Clemson, S.C. and hundreds of miles away from home, sophomore Jaclyn Dutton realized something wasn’t right.

An Ohio girl with strong family ties, Dutton knew that being so far away from home that her family and friends could not even see her play made her uncomfortable.

Quickly deciding in the spring at Clemson that being so far from her family just wouldn’t stick, she set out to find a better fit closer to home.

“The coaches down there, which was a whole new coaching staff, they were really supportive of me and helped me talk to different colleges,” Sutton said. “They knew I wanted to be closer to home and it was a really smooth and easy process for me.”

After some help from her family and coaches, Dutton decided on Kent State for more than just soccer. Dutton, a news major, saw Kent State’s communications as a big edge in deciding the school with the best fit for her.

What makes Dutton such a large acquisition for the Flashes is her high profile as a high school player. A stand out at St. Clairsville High School in Bridgeport, Dutton stands as the state of Ohio’s all-team leading goal scorer with an astounding 192 career goals in her four-year career.

Of course high school soccer and Division I soccer programs are much different games, but Dutton has proven in her short career that she can score at the big level.

When at Clemson, she scored six points in 10 starts for the Tigers. So far at Kent State, she has netted three goals and two assists in seven games for the Flashes.

Finding the biggest change in play coming in the competition, Dutton goes from playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which has six teams in the NCAA women’s Div. I Soccer rankings, to the Mid-American Conference which has no teams in the top 25.

“The MAC conference is much more physical than I am used to, but I think I’ve adjusted well now,” Dutton said. “Clemson and the ACC is more technical and pretty plays and setting things up. I like the MAC because it is more straight forward.”

Physical play is a slight change of pace for Dutton but shouldn’t be any problem for her. Outside of soccer, Dutton loves to spend her free time in the weight room.

Already thankful for the change in weather from hot and humid South Carolina to the unpredictable weather of Ohio, Dutton is very thankful to be back home where she belongs as a presence for the Flashes.

Being instrumental in her first game for the Flashes for their season opener against Cleveland State, she scored the go ahead goal to claim a 3-2 victory over the Vikings to help the team collect their first win. Dutton found team points leader Jessacca Gironda against Morehead State for her first assist, which gave the Flashes a 1-0 win to improve to 3-0 on the year.

No one can know what her impact will be for the success of the Flashes during the remainder of her career, but having a player like Dutton on the field for Kent State makes the Flashes a dangerous scoring team and threat to win the MAC.

The team will return to play Friday night at home against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (1-2-3) at 4 p.m. 

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].