Kent State soccer team still battling on the road

Nick Walton

Flashes travel to Pittsburgh then move to Michigan State looking for success away from home

Redshirt freshman Kelly Sherwood stretches to the point of her fingertips in hopes of blocking a shot during practice Wednesday night. The ladies will put their skills to the test today as they travel to Pittsburgh. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Since the Kent State soccer team played its last home game Aug. 31, the Flashes’ home field has been vacant.

This trend will continue this weekend when the Flashes (2-2) continue a four-game road trip by playing at Pittsburgh today and Michigan State on Sunday.

“(Playing on the road) is tiring, but with the last trip it really brought our team together,” junior center-midfielder Lauren Evans said. “It’s a challenge, and we look forward to it.”

Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said the consecutive road games are a result of alternate schedules.

“Last year we had a lot of away (Mid-American Conference) games, so we had to get a lot of home non-conference games,” Marinaro said. “And this year it’s vice versa.”

The Flashes’ last road game was Sunday at South Florida after a trip to Louisiana State was canceled because of Hurricane Gustav.

“We got back Monday afternoon and some of us went to class,” Evans said. “I don’t think (it’s been hard to prepare) because we’ve kept it going when we were away. There was really no time for slacking.”

Sunday, the Flashes practiced in Florida to make up for not playing a game.

“We played each other and it was competitive, and it was hard because of the heat,” Evans said. “We really just went at each other, and everybody pushed it despite the conditions.”

Despite the constant travel, Marinaro said it hasn’t been difficult to prepare for this weekend’s games.

“I think we’ve had a lot of high energy, and the ladies are looking forward to competing against two very good opponents this weekend,” Marinaro said.

The Flashes have an 0-2 all-time record against both of this weekend’s opponents.

Pittsburgh is currently 2-3 on the season and was picked to finish last in the Big East American Division. Despite the Panthers’ current record, the Flashes are not overlooking them.

“From a team standpoint we’re going into the game looking for what we can do, not necessarily the other team,” Evans said. “We’re going to come in prepared but come in respecting the team and what they can do, not necessarily just looking at their record.”

Despite being picked to finish seventh in the Big Ten, Michigan State is currently 5-0 and will play Western Michigan on Friday before playing the Flashes. The Spartans have only allowed one goal to their opponents on the season coming into Friday’s game.

After four games, Marinaro is positive about his team’s progress this season.

“I think consistently we’re getting better and we’re seeing some good fighting spirit,” Marinaro said. “It’s a wonderful group of young ladies, and as a coaching staff we’re really thrilled with where we are right now.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].