Soccer team starts southwest swing

Lance Lysowski

Flashes take 2-2 record into first big road trip of season

Junior forward Kelly Heaton is fouled and given a free kick last Saturday during the second overtime. Senior midfieldeer Catherine Marosszeky took the kick and won the game for the Flashes 1-0 against Youngstown State. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State soccer team is making its first major road trip of the season this weekend as they travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the University of New Mexico Nike Classic.

The long road trip will be a test for the Flashes, but sophomore midfielder Hannah Johnson said the final nonconference games are preparing the team for what is most important – the Mid-American Conference.

“I think we learn a lot from the games out of conference that prepare us to get ready for the MAC, which is the most important part of our season,” Johnson said.

The tournament includes the Flashes (2-2), Tulsa (2-1-1), Cal State Northridge (3-3) and New Mexico (5-0).

The Flashes are coming off a double-overtime victory at Youngstown State, which Kent State coach Rob Marinaro is hoping to build on going into this weekend.

“It keeps spirits high and the team builds confidence,” Marinaro said. “Now, we just need to keep the ball rolling.”

Marinaro and the Flashes will get their chance this weekend when they face Tulsa on Friday and Cal State Northridge on Sunday.

Tulsa has scored 10 goals in four games this season, including a 7-0 romp over Louisiana-Monroe on Sept 6. The Hurricanes show balance on offense as six different players have scored goals for Tulsa this season.

Cal State Northridge brings a different challenge to the table. The Matadors play a possession style of play the Flashes have yet to see and have scored nine goals in six games. Northridge is led by junior forward Farryn Townley’s three goals, her last being the game-winner against Vermont on Sept 6.

“(They) play probably a much different style, especially west coast team Cal State Northridge,” Marinaro said. “I think you’ll see a much more possession-oriented game, so we’re going to have to match up and learn how to play against different styles.”

Despite picking up a victory and playing well against a top-25 opponent in Pittsburgh, Marinaro said he is always looking for ways to improve the team’s play.

“I think we’re always looking to improve little piece of our game – better ball movement, putting ourselves in better opportunities to play a much wide-open style of soccer,” Marinaro said.

Four games into this season and the Flashes’ leading goal scorer, junior forward Kelly Heaton, has one goal and one assist. Heaton, a regular fixture in the Flashes’ starting lineup last season, came off the bench in Kent State’s first two matches of the season and was put back into her regular starting forward position against Pittsburgh.

“As we evaluate week-by-week, the players that we think are going to give us the most are going to get opportunities on the day,” Marinaro said.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected] .