Soccer aims to carry strong tradition into new season

Chris Gates

With back-to-back Mid-American Conference regular season titles in 2003 and 2004 and respective final and semifinal appearances the last two seasons, the Kent State women’s soccer team has a lot to live up to in 2007.

With wins in both of their exhibition games this year, the Flashes have started off on the right foot.

Coach Rob Marinaro said the key for their season is to take it one game at a time.

“In the MAC, the parody is so strong that every week you never know what’s going to happen,” Marinaro said. “The goal is to compete on that given day and not look forward or backward. Just do the best you can within that one game.”

Picked fifth in the preseason MAC poll, the Flashes look to improve on last year’s semifinal loss. Above them in the standings are Ball State, Bowling Green, Ohio and Miami, respectively.

This year’s team returns 17 letterwinners from the 2006 campaign.

“We have a real nice mixture of incoming freshman and strong senior leadership,” Marinaro said. “From there, a good junior and sophomore class help make up a good combination for a team.”

Of the returning players, six seniors are expected to lead. Kimberly Dimitroff, Abby Drake, Brittany Fracasso, Amy Kessler, Lisa Kurz and Dana Neroni are each leading the team in their own ways.

“They have all taken turns stepping up in different situations,” Marinaro said. “Each with different characteristics. They have all taken a step forward to make sure that they are leading the team in the right direction.”

The younger players have also been creating “a lot of competition,” coach Marinaro said.

“We’ll have a deep team that will compete every day for a position to play,” Marinaro said.

With past success, the Flashes have created quite a buzz on the soccer field. A reputation is a terrible thing to waste, and Marinaro has no plans to do so.

“We will represent well. It’s a very hardworking team which is one of the first things you want to take care of,” he said. “They went through the preseason and on a consistent basis gave it everything they had. Now we just need to carry that on to the field.”

Kent State leaves today for a West Coast road trip in which they will face off against California-Davis on Friday and Pacific on Sunday. The Flashes return home to face Wright State on Sept. 7.

Contact soccer reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].