MAC rivals stand in way of winning season for KSU soccer

Chris Gates

The Kent State soccer team will try and get back to the .500 mark this weekend when two Mid-American Conference teams, Miami and Ball State, visit Kent.

The Flashes (6-8-1, 4-4-0) are currently on a two-game losing streak and need to win their final three games to finish over .500 for the season. Coach Rob Marinaro said what is more important is taking the learning experiences out of each game to better prepare for the MAC tournament.

“We’re not taking a look at an overall record,” Marinaro said. “What we’re looking at is taking it one game at a time this weekend and making sure that we put forth our best effort in both games.”

Miami comes in today, with a 5-7-3 (3-4-1 MAC) record this season. Kent State has fared well against the RedHawks as of late, winning its last meeting 1-0 in Oxford.

The two find themselves in similar positions, looking to break out from the middle of the conference standings with only a few games to play.

The Flashes then host the top-ranked team in the MAC, Ball State, Sunday. The Cardinals have yet to lose a conference game, and have a 10-4-1 (7-0-1 MAC) record on the year. They lead the all-time series against Kent State 4-3-2.

The last time a top-ranked MAC team —Toledo— came to Kent, the Flashes played arguably their best game of the year winning 1-0. Kent State will need the same kind of effort this weekend if they expect to come out with two wins.

“Talent-wise, I believe we are the best team in the MAC,” senior midfielder/forward Brittany Fracasso said. “We’re playing like we think we’re the best team, and then other teams come from under us and produce, and we don’t.”

Offensively, Kent State has not needed to do much; goalkeeper Kris Nelson has been solid. For the year, she has allowed two goals or more only 5 times, while recording four shutouts.

A complete team effort offensively and defensively is a must this weekend.

“We will continue to prepare the same way we have for all of our MAC games,” Marinaro said. “It will come down to outworking the opponent once they come to our home field.”

Sunday will also be senior day. Six seniors, Kimberly Dimitroff, Abby Drake, Brittany Fracasso, Amy Kessler, Lisa Kurz and Dana Neroni will be honored for their achievements at Kent State.

Game time tomorrow is at 3 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be played at the Kent State Soccer Field, located behind Dix Stadium.

Contact soccer reporter Chris gates at [email protected].