Flashes start conference play with a rare offensive showing

Nick Walton

Sophomore forward Kelly Heaton fights off a Ohio defender as she makes her way toward the goal. Heaton was a key player in the game, scoring two of the four goals for the Flashes, leading them to a 4-1 victory. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

After scoring one goal in the previous four games, the Kent State soccer team’s offense exploded over the weekend.

The Flashes (5-4, 2-0 Mid-American conference) started MAC play with wins over Akron and Ohio. In the two games the Flashes scored a combined eight goals to tie for the early lead in the MAC.

Kent State tied a season-high scoring mark with a win over Akron 4-1 yesterday to start conference play 2-0.

The Flashes took an early lead off of a goal by sophomore forward Kelly Heaton at the 12:00 mark. Kent State quickly added to its lead with a goal from sophomore forward Annie Messer at the 16:18 mark.

“We just stayed connected as a team and we worked hard,” Heaton said. “At halftime we said that the goal was to play like it was 0-0 and just play hard for 45 minutes.”

Akron scored early in the second half with a goal from sophomore midfielder Leigh Cullen at the 49:15 mark, but the Flashes countered with a goal from junior midfielder Catharine Marosszeky at the 51:46 mark.

“Anytime you can answer a goal back that quickly it really could have made the game a lot different,” Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said. “I thought we took (the game) over and that goal changed it so we could finish it off.”

Kent State added to its lead with another goal from Heaton at the 88:06 mark. Heaton’s goal was just the 13th goal of the entire season for the Flashes.

“We’ve just been continuing to work on a lot on our offense and I think what’s happening now is that they’re moving inside the box,” Marinaro said. “We’re capitalizing on loose balls and we’re obviously the first ones there, that’s the difference.”

The Flashes out-shot Akron 13-10 and had eight shot-on goals. Kent State also committed fewer fouls than Akron 19-16.

Along with her second goal of the season, Messer led the team in shots and assisted on Heaton’s second goal. Messer had four shots against Akron.

The successful weekend finish for the Flashes followed a 4-0 win over Ohio on Friday.

The Flashes scored early on a goal from junior midfielder Jackie Barath at the 17:33 mark and quickly added another goal from sophomore forward L.A. Thoma at the 24:37 mark. Both goals were the first of the season for Barath and Thoma.

In the second half, sophomore forward Josee Charron added a goal at the 52:14 and Thoma would score her second goal of the game at the 60:16 mark score to set a season season-high scoring mark.

“The (back-post play) was just something that we practice everyday,” Thoma said. “We practice it all the time. It just happened to happen for us today.”

Kent State out-shot Ohio 21-10 and had 12 shots on goals. The Flashes committed more fouls than Ohio 17-12.

Senior midfielder Caitlin Hester led the team with five shots and assisted on Thoma’s second goal. Over the weekend, freshman goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood recorded 11 saves, and the Flashes held their opponents to one goal.

“Just like our offense, (defense) is such a team effort,” Marinaro said. “A lot of loose balls, we’re winning. It’s hard to get by us because of the high intensity we’re playing with right now.”

The wins improved Kent State’s home record to 3-0 on the season. The win over Akron was also significant because it marked the 100th victory in program history.

“I think that’s something that the team should take a lot of pride in,” Marinaro said.

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at[email protected].