Soccer remembers year for solidarity

Nick Walton

Despite struggles, Flashes remained unified as a team

Coming into the season, a major theme for the Kent State soccer team was solidarity.

This trait was crucial as the Flashes endured a difficult season.

The Flashes ended their season with a 6-11-1 overall record and a 3-7-1 record in the Mid-American Conference. For the first time in six seasons, Kent State failed to make it to the MAC Tournament.

“The high point of the season was that even though we went through so many close games and we came out with losses, we didn’t look to break away from each other,” junior midfielder Catharine Marosszeky said. “We were able to take each loss or win as a group, even though it was very difficult when we were taking more losses than we would have liked to.”

After the first week of conference play, the Flashes had a 5-4 overall record and 2-0 record in the conference after combining for eight goals in wins over Ohio and Akron. What followed was an eight-game winless streak that ended the chances of postseason play.

“Our team as a whole didn’t really regroup after that big weekend,” Marosszeky said. “We were met with a challenge at Miami, and they came out with a win on a last-minute goal. That kind of loss is hard to come back from.”

Despite enduring the tough streak, Kent State was still competitive. The Flashes often outshot their opposition, and four of the losses during the winless streak were decided by one goal.

“That’s the way soccer is sometimes,” Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said. “In a lot of our games, we outshot opponents and we outplayed opponents, but it’s something we’re working on to make sure that we close games out.”

Marinaro said the team’s leadership helped it maintain a competitive attitude throughout the season.

“A lot of the seniors all the way down to the freshman class gave us a lot,” he said. “Next year, the leadership needs to step up again, and the production needs to step up.”

Improvements from last season Marinaro pointed out were that goals were more spread out among teammates and there was more than one go-to player. Last season, Kent State had only three players with three or more goals. This season the Flashes had five.

Many players tied for the team lead with three assists in 2007. One player, senior midfielder Caitlin Hester, had seven this season. Hester also led the team with five goals in her final season with the Flashes.

“Caitlin is a fantastic player, and she was constantly out there giving it absolutely everything that she had,” Marinaro said.

Marinaro hopes the team learned the importance of playing hard in conference play.

“You can’t ever let up – it’s going to take 90 minutes, and if not 90 minutes, sometimes it’s going to take 110 minutes,” he said. “You got to put all of those minutes together and produce.”

Marosszeky said the team will use this season as a learning experience.

“For next year and for years to come, we will understand you don’t just show up to a game – you have to be willing to put everything on the line,” she said. “(Playing hard) will be something that we will be able to capitalize on and improve on and hopefully flip it around next year.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].