Soccer opens MAC play with shutouts

Lance Lysowski

Flashes blank Ball State and Miami

The Kent State women’s soccer team got its revenge this weekend by defeating two Mid-American Conference opponents that got the best of them a year ago.

The Flashes (6-3, 2-0 MAC) not only displayed dominance on defense but showed offense prowess this weekend. Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said the offensive pressure his team created against both opponents was no surprise to him.

“It’s something we focus in on, and it’s not just the offensive pressure we put on teams, it’s just the pressure we put in with the whole team,” Marinaro said. “The work rate is excellent, and that’s something we need to continue working on.”

The Flashes swept their weekend slate with a 4-0 win over Ball State (2-6, 1-1) Friday, and a 1-0 victory over Miami (4-4-1, 0-1-1) Sunday.

Yesterday the Flashes dominated the first half of play with offensive playmaking. Kent State controlled possession and put the defensive-oriented RedHawks on their heels.

The Flashes got on the board early when senior forward L.A. Thoma worked around a Miami defender to the far right of the goal. Thoma’s first pass was blocked, but the second cross attempt found junior midfielder Kellyn Flanagan, who one-timed it past the keeper at the near post in the sixth minute of the game.

The goal was one of many opportunities for the Flashes, even though the team only registered two shots on goal for the game.

“We were just kind of clicking together,” Flanagan said. “We worked hard, and our passes were getting where we wanted them to go. “

Kent State carried the 1-0 lead into half and brought the same energy they displayed into the second half. The Flashes continued to pressure the RedHawks’ back line and looked to hold the lead.

“We wanted to get another goal to get a little bit of a safety net,” Flanagan said, “but definitely keep working hard and shut them down, especially on any corner kicks or restarts that they had.”

The Flashes did not add to their lead, but held on for the 1-0 win with tight defense as they held the RedHawks to only one shot on goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood recorded her fourth shutout of the season and her third in the past four games.

Marinaro said he’s impressed with the offensive pressure the team is putting forth.

“Everyone’s buzzing around now, and they’re fighting for every single loose ball,” Marinaro said. “It comes down to the hard work, desire and finishing the job.”

Friday’s contest against Ball State displayed the same strong play on both ends of the field by the Flashes. The Cardinals came out flat, as Kent State held possession in Ball State’s defensive third for the majority of the first half. The Flashes took the lead in the 20th minute when junior forward Annie Messer’s pass from the far left nearly found Flanagan in front of the net but was deflected in by the Cardinals.

“I think it was just a lot of hard work,” sophomore defender Vanessa Salerno said. “Everybody really put in a 110 percent effort to get the ball up the field, and even in the offensive third everybody didn’t stop until the ball was out of bounds or until there was a shot taken.”

The Flashes were paced by a free-kick goal from senior midfielder Catharine Marosszeky and Salerno’s second and third goals of the year.

Salerno’s markers were header goals within four minutes of each other, the first being set up by a Flanagan cross on a defender to the right of the net, finding Salerno’s head with a pass. Her second goal came off a corner kick by freshman midfielder Hannah Newhouse.

“I think we just have to go in with the exact same attitude,” Salerno said. “We were very positive today, everyone worked very hard and if we keep this mentality up we can go far.”

The Flashes will look to keep their road record perfect next weekend when they travel to Central Michigan on Friday and Eastern Michigan on Sunday.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected]