Flashes soccer team coming home

Alex Atkinson

The Kent State Soccer teams looks to turn its season around by playing with more intensity as the Flashes play its first home series since Aug. 22nd.

“We’re just looking to pick up our own intensity level on both sides of the ball — offensively and defensively,” Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said. “If we come with the intensity we know we can play, then we’ll get our opportunities.”

The Flashes, who are coming off a 10-game road stint, have had a disappointing season so far, going 1-3-3 in non-conference games and 0-3-1 against teams in the Mid-American Conference.

After last weekend’s 5-0 loss to Western Michigan where all five goals came in the first half, Marinaro says the team is ready to rebound.

“It was not a very good 45 minutes,” Marinaro said. “We showed what’s going to happen when you don’t bring the intensity level that we can bring. It was a lesson well-learned for them.”

The Kent State defense will hope to overcome last weekend’s mishap against the MAC’s third and fourth best goal-scoring teams.

But, Marinaro said he is confident in his team’s defensive performance.

“You look outside of one game, and we’ve held our opponents down to minimal goals,” Marinaro said. “I think we’re doing really well in the back and just need to keep building from there. (The defense) is gaining a lot of experience, doing a lot better.”

Marinaro said playing at home for the first time since the end of August will also make a difference.

“It adds another day of training,” Marinaro said. “Plus it doesn’t give you the wear and tear of travel and being on the bus for five hours the night before a game. They keep in their own routine and sleep in their own beds.”

The players said it also adds intensity to play at home.

“You have the feeling you’re at your school,” freshman defender Megan Johnson said. “We have to step it up. We’re home. We’re here. You’ve got to protect your house.”

Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan will face the Flashes’ ninth-ranked defense in the MAC. Though the Flashes’ have not recorded a shutout this season, the defense has held its opponents to one goal six times this season. Leading the defense is junior goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood, who averages five saves per game.

With two freshmen starting on the back line, the defense is slowly coming together.

Marinaro said Johnson has become more of the defense’s vocal organizer.

“You’re starting to see that maturation,” Marinaro said of Johnson.

But when it comes to filling in to help, Marinaro said he believes junior Gabi Ingram fills that role best.

“Gabi seems to be the one who keeps it together because she’s a little bit more of the experienced one, and they look to her for her guidance,” Marinaro said. “All of them (the defense) have done a really nice job. And then you’ve got to put Kelly Sherwood in the mix of how they defend. She’s stepped up and has done a real nice job.”

The defense will be in action against some of the MAC’s best offenses this weekend, as the Flashes play Eastern Michigan Friday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. against the defending MAC Champion Central Michigan.

Who: Eastern Michigan (5-5-3 Overall) (2-0-2 MAC)

Where: Kent State Soccer Field

When: 3 p.m.

Who: Central Michigan (7-3-1 Overall) (4-0-0 MAC)

Where: Kent State Soccer Field

When: 1 p.m.

Contact Alex Atkinson at [email protected].