Soccer improves road record to 3-0

Lance Lysowski

Team earns two wins in New Mexico

Last season, the Kent State soccer team struggled on the road with a 2-8 record. Three road games into this season, the team guaranteed improvement with two wins this weekend.

The Flashes (4-2) defeated Tulsa 2-1 on Friday and Cal State Northridge 1-0 in overtime yesterday at the University of New Mexico Nike Classic. The matches were against unfamiliar opponents, but Kent State impressed with their combination of defensive pressure and offensive playmaking.

The combination has lifted the Flashes to a three-game winning streak.

“We mixed it up a lot offensively and that was really nice to see,” Rob Marinaro said. “I think we did a fantastic job in possessing the ball and creating opportunities.”

The Flashes took Cal State into Kent State’s third overtime contest of the season. The Matadors played a tight possession-oriented game that tested Kent State throughout the match.

Cal State’s style of play was unlike anything the Flashes had seen, with a combination of individual skill and ball control. Marinaro said facing new opponents such as the Matadors will aid the Flashes in their preparation for Mid-American Conference play.

“It shows our girls how to attack from both methods,” Marinaro said. “I think at this point, at this early in the season, we’ve seen almost everything that can be thrown at us to prepare us for conference play.”

Cal State Northridge outshot the Flashes 17-14, but Kent State was aided by sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood’s six saves, leading to her second shutout of the season. The Flashes kept up their play to the final minutes of regulation and came out firing in overtime, with three shots in the short period.

Kent State ended the game in the 93rd minute when sophomore defender Vanessa Salerno outran a defender and one-timed a loose ball in the box to the far post.

“Cal State was tremendously athletic,” Marinaro said. “(We) just did a fantastic job putting numbers behind the ball; we did a fantastic job defending as a team today.”

In Friday’s match against Tulsa, the Flashes not only had to battle the Hurricanes for 90 minutes of soccer, but also dealt through a 90-minute thunderstorm delay.

“We kept reminding them they had been controlling the game up to that moment,” Marinaro said. “We’re really proud they came out, and finished the game off.”

Prior to the rain delay, Kent State outshot Tulsa 10-5 in the first half and held a 1-1 tie behind senior midfielder Catharine Marosszeky’s free kick goal.

The Flashes continued their strong play, despite sitting for an hour and a half during the delay.

Kent State took the lead when junior forward Annie Messer’s throw-in bounced into the box. Junior midfielder Kellyn Flanagan capitalized on the opportunity, putting the ball past the opposing keeper for the eventual game-winner.

“I think we see different players stepping up on a number of occasions,” Marinaro said. “We are getting solid play from Kelly Sherwood and playing great team defense.”

The Flashes will look to continue their three-game winning streak Friday when they host Michigan State at 4 p.m.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].