Soccer team’s trip to Louisiana canceled because of Gustav

Nick Walton

The Kent State soccer team’s trip to Baton Rouge, La., has been canceled because of the effects of Hurricane Gustav.

The Flashes (2-1) were set to play against Louisiana State Friday and South Florida Sunday. A decision about the location of this weekend’s games will be made today. The team is still planning to fly out of Cleveland tomorrow but is now looking to go to either South Florida or New Hampshire.

Kent State coach Rob Marinaro said flights, hotels and other finances will decide where the team plays this weekend.

“We were going to have to fly somewhere, so this just changes it a little bit,” he said. “Sometimes that happens during the season, and it’s just going to have to show us that we have to accept change and be willing to adapt.”

The soccer game against LSU would have been the second game played in the Tiger Classic. The Flashes currently plan to play at least one team, which will be announced today.

Marinaro said the change of plans is small compared to the ordeals the people of Louisiana are dealing with.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate, what’s happening in Louisiana,” he said. “What we’re dealing with is extremely simple, so if it’s a change of flight because some people are going through a lot worse, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Senior goalkeeper Kris Nelson said the team’s mindset throughout the uncertainty has been on preparation.

“(The team’s priority) has been on practice and keeping focus,” she said. “Whether we played or not in LSU is out of our hands, so we had to train like … we were playing. (The hurricane) is (one) of those things you can’t ignore; it’s a national impact, so we hope for the best but prepare for anything.”

Nelson said it would be disappointing if the game was canceled but said it was out of the team’s hands. She said the long trip will help improve the team’s chemistry.

“These big trips always bring us together,” Nelson said. “The unity is fun – we always have a blast on these trips.”

The teams that the Flashes were initially scheduled to play this weekend dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. LSU canceled games against South Alabama and Arkansas-Pine Bluff and moved a game against in-state opponent Louisiana-Lafayette to Lafayette because of the hurricane.

South Florida canceled its 2005 season opener against Florida International because of Katrina.

While the Flashes could play this weekend’s games in South Florida, that location is uncertain as well because Tropical Storm Hanna could hit the area later this week.

Contact academic sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected]