Hard-working class to be recognized at game on Sunday
This weekend the Kent State soccer team will celebrate the careers of six players while shooting to solidify their Mid-American Conference Tournament chances.
Prior to Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against Akron, Kent State (7-6-2, 3-3-2 MAC) will celebrate the careers of the six seniors on the team: midfielder Catharine Marosszeky, midfielder Lauren Evans, forward L.A. Thoma, defender Megan Hill, defender Beth Diederich and defender Jackie Barath.
Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said a major reason for the team’s success this season is the senior classes’ maturity and hard work.
“It goes back to their blue-collar mentality,” Marinaro said. “I think that’s what has really put us on the map this year, is our senior leadership. They were a quiet group coming in, but flourished.”
The Flashes currently sit seventh in the MAC standings – a turnaround from the team’s tenth place finish in 2008. Kent State’s offense has improved across the board from last season, as well as a defense that is anchored by sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood’s five shutouts on the season.
Marosszeky, who is fifth all-time in program history with 16 goals, said the team’s improvement can be credited to hard work.
“(It’s) definitely our work ethic,” Marosszeky said. “We don’t give up, we keep our heads up and we keep going even when we’re down a goal or things aren’t going our way. Everything is a little bit extra that makes a difference.”
Before last season’s drop in the standings, the Flashes had been a perennial contender in the MAC. Kent State reached the MAC tournament five years in a row, including two regular season MAC championships and a MAC Championship game appearance.
Marinaro said the seniors possess the main ingredient needed to build a successful program: leadership.
“I think it really starts there,” Marinaro said. “When you have good leadership, it trickles all the way down, and that’s what our seniors have brought to this year. They’ve represented extremely well.”
The Flashes will look to clinch their spot in MAC Tournament this weekend, starting against Ohio (7-6-2, 4-2-2 MAC) today.
The Bobcats, currently fourth in the MAC, were off to an impressive start to conference play with a six game undefeated streak. That run ended last Sunday when Ohio lost to Miami, but the Bobcats are paced by a combination of discipline and solid play in goal.
Ohio has the fourth fewest fouls in the conference, while senior goalkeepers Christa Puccio and Jess MacLean have combined for a 1.34 goals against average.
Marosszeky said regardless of what is on the line this weekend, the Flashes need to stay focused.
“Going in with a positive attitude,” Marosszeky said. “You know, kind of having a bit more swagger, knowing that we’re going to get a good game, a run for their money and basically come out with two weeks.”
On Sunday, the Flashes will look to repeat their success against their rival, Akron (6-6-2, 4-3-1 MAC). Kent State won 4-1 when the teams last met a season ago.
Akron, currently sixth in the conference, has won four of their last five matches. The Zips have struggled offensively with the third fewest goals scored in the conference. Similar to Ohio, Akron is well disciplined, committing the least amount of fouls in the conference.
The Zips have managed to contend, but Akron has been outscored 20-14 this season while using three different keepers in net.
Barath said despite all of the hype about the rivalry game, it feels like the team is playing any other opponent.
“I feel like it’s any other game,” Barath said, “but we’re at home this year, so it will be a good game.”
KENT STATE vs. OHIO
Where: Kent State Soccer Field
When: Today, 3 p.m.
Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected]