Soccer looks for full effort

Lance Lysowski

Kent State set for two conference road games

Looking to recover from slow starts, the Kent State soccer team is focusing on becoming more consistent from kickoff to the final seconds.

The team fought its way back from poor first halves in last weekend’s games to record a win and a draw, but the team is looking for a full-game effort when they travel to northwest Ohio to face two Mid-American Conference rivals this weekend.

“We need to come out against our opponent, and we need to be ready to play for 90 minutes every time,” senior midfielder Catharine Marosszeky said. “We can’t expect us to play without that kind of intense warm up; intense mental preparation, and I think we learned our lesson.”

The Flashes (7-5-1, 3-2-1) currently sit at fourth in the MAC and will travel to face Bowling Green (4-9-2, 0-4-2) on Friday and Toledo (7-5-2, 3-2-1) on Sunday.

The Falcons are currently last in the MAC and winless in their last eight games. Bowling Green’s struggles have come not only because of lack of offensive production, but a defense that has given up too many opportunities. The Falcons have used three different goalkeepers so far this season who have faced 14 shots per game.

The team has been outscored 24-15 so far this season, but Marosszeky said the Flashes aren’t overlooking any opponent.

“(We’re) Basically going out and making sure we play our game no matter what the team looks like in the standings,” Marosszeky said. “Also, just remember that in the MAC, any day a team can come out from the bottom to the top and have big wins or huge losses.”

Kent State will face another tough task on Sunday with the three-time defending MAC Tournament Champions Toledo. Despite their past success, the Rockets currently sit one spot under the Flashes in the standings.

Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said the team’s effort in practice has been impressive, and it will look to carry that into this weekend.

“I think our intensity level has been great all season long,” Marinaro said. “We focused on hard starts in training, and they know they have to put a good, hard 90 minutes together.”

The Rockets are a stout defensive club; allowing only 13 goals in 14 games this season. The team’s backline is led by the 2008 MAC Newcomer of the Year, sophomore goalkeeper Vicki Traven.

Traven has shutdown the opposition with a 0.80 goals against average and five shutouts on the season. Marosszeky said playing against a goalkeeper on top of her game is a challenge the team looks forward to.

“That just means the goals we score on them will just be that much more special,” Marosszeky said. “We don’t stop until we get the ball into the back of the net, and that’s a huge thing.”

Toledo’s offense is paced by the 2008 MAC Player of the Year, senior forward Molly Cornwell. The senior leads the team in scoring with three goals and five assists. Cornwell is the catalyst of an offense that has pressured opponents to the tune of 86 corner kicks in 14 games.

Marosszeky said the parity in the MAC makes every game critical, especially against a top-tier team such as Toledo.

“Toledo’s always a good game,” Marosszeky said. “They’re a pretty consistent team, and they’re usually successful. That will be a good test for us, and the MAC is so up and down, so you never know what’s going to happen.”

The two opponents present different challenges, but Marinaro said the team cannot overlook Bowling Green.

“It’s one at a time, and we’ll look to see what we can do on Friday and hopefully pick up some points there,” Marinaro said.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].