Soccer team reboots offense to hopefully end scoring drought

Alex Atkinson

Jessacca Gironda scored a goal in the 23rd minute against IUPUI on Sept. 19. Since then, the Kent State soccer team hasn’t found the back of the goal for the last 247 minutes.

The Flashes (1-5-3, 0-2 Mid-American Conference) will look to end its scoring drought as the team concludes its 10-game road trip this weekend. Kent State plays Western Michigan at 4 p.m. today and Northern Illinois at 1 p.m. Sunday.


Where: Kent State (1-5-3) at Western Michigan (6-5-0) at WMU Soccer Complex

When: 4 p.m. Friday

Where: Kent State (1-5-3) at Northern Illinois (5-4-0) at The Soccer and Track & Field Complex

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

After being shut out last weekend against Miami and Bowling Green, Kent State coach Rob Marinaro added a third formation that he said will provide the offense with more scoring opportunities.

“We’ve tweaked some things around tactically, and we think it’s going to make us more dangerous going forward,” Marinaro said. “We’re just trying to move some players around and see how we can create more offense for ourselves.”

The Flashes rank 10th in the MAC in scoring, averaging just 0.89 goals per game. Four of the team’s five losses have been a one-goal difference.

“We need to generate more offense,” Marinaro said, “and I think this (formation) gives us more confidence to do that.”

A stronger offense will help relieve the Flashes’ defense from pressure. The defense, currently sixth in the MAC in goals allowed average, has less to worry about when Kent State is up a goal.

“We always have to keep balls out, but it is a lot tougher when you’re down one because you feel like you have to work that much harder from getting down 0-2,” junior goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood said.

The past two weeks the Flashes have used practice time to prepare for upcoming opponents. The team has practiced specifically to control one player, such as Indiana’s Orianica Velasquez and Miami’s Jess Kodiak. This week, the Flashes concentrated on its own style of play instead.

Kent State’s new formation will face the MAC’s second and third best defenses this weekend in Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. The Broncos also have the MAC’s leading goal-scorer, Stephanie Skowneski (six goals).

“I think we just need to come out and pick our own game up,” Marinaro said. “We’re not focusing so much on the opponent as to how we can play our game better. (This formation) is something we feel will improve our own game versus how we’re going to defend the other team.”

Marinaro said he also picked up the tempo of his training sessions in hopes of carrying it into the full 90 minutes of a game.

“I think we’re playing in spurts,” Marinaro said. “I think we need to do a little better of a job sustaining momentum ourselves. With a couple of adjustments and a little more work rate, we’re going to see things turn around.”

Contact Alex Atkinson at [email protected].