Soccer gets its kicks together for 2008

Nick Walton

With unity in mind, team puts 2007 in past

Often in sports, teams that have a losing season fall apart and lose camaraderie.

This isn’t the case with the 2008 Kent State soccer team.

After a disappointing season, the Flashes (7-11-1, 5-6 conference in 2007) are eager to return to the field and once again challenge for the Mid-American Conference title.

“We were really excited about the incoming freshmen and the players that we still had for this season and what we could all bring to the table,” said senior forward Caitlin Hester.

The team has gotten behind the theme of unity and feels that this will improve its play.

“We’re pleased with what we’ve seen so far and they’ve really challenged themselves to be a solid, unified team,” said coach Rob Marinaro.

The team’s veteran players understand their responsibilities as the leaders of the team and are up to the challenge.

“Our responsibility is to lead by example,” said junior center midfielder Catharine Marosszeky. “And not only support our players but show them what we expect and how we expect to have things go on and off the field.”

Hester acknowledged that the veteran players need to help the other players get through difficult times.

“As seniors, we also need to be there as a support system for each other not only on the field but off the field,” Hester said.

The team will once again face tough competition from the other teams in the MAC, including the defending tournament champion Toledo Rockets. The Flashes will play the Rockets, who are favored to win the conference, Oct. 26 at Toledo. Ball State and Bowling Green have been predicted to finish in second and third place.

“The MAC is always really tough,” Marinaro said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing in the conference, it’s going to be an unbelievable challenge for 90 minutes.”

Despite qualifying for five consecutive MAC tournaments, the team is predicted to finish in ninth place in one MAC preseason poll.

“We really don’t pay a whole lot of attention to (predictions),” Hester said. “It’s all about who shows up to play the day of that game, and we just need to make sure that we’re the team that shows up at every game.”

The team feels the unity and changes on the team will produce a different team than last season.

“We know that the team we have this fall is a lot different from the team we had last fall,” Marosszeky said. “We know what we can produce, and we can definitely produce more than a ninth place finish.”

The team’s ambitions for the season go beyond winning the MAC title. The team would also like to clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament.

“We would love to get to the first round of (the NCAA tournament) and see what happens from there. It’s not just the MAC anymore,” Marosszeky said. “We want to take it a step further because we know we have the work ethic to do it, and we have the heart and desire that comes with it.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].