KSU peaking in postseason

Steven Voicik

Kent State senior defender Britt Laing (left) keeps the ball away from Buffalo midfielder Brooke McCalla during the game on Thursday when the Flashes won 3-0. Kent State will play Northern Illinois in the semi-finals of the MAC tournament at Toledo on Fri

Credit: Steve Schirra

The Kent State soccer team has a knack for the postseason.

The team finished the regular season with an 8-9-1 overall record and was seeded sixth in the eight-team Mid-American Conference tournament after going 5-5 within the conference. However, two consecutive wins, including an offensive outburst against Central Michigan in the opening round of the tournament, has given the team the momentum it needs to overcome more adversity in the playoffs.

With their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, and the entire season on the line, the Flashes came out in their final regular-season game and dominated the Buffalo Bulls, defeating them 3-0. The win sealed a trip to the MAC tournament for the fourth year in a row.

Kent State will take on Northern Illinois in the semi finals at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Toledo. The Huskies are coming off their first MAC Tournament victory since 1998, with a 2-0 victory over Ohio.

All season long, coach Rob Marinaro has tried to stress a team-first concept to his players, and it shows. The team has had different players step up all year long. Juniors Lisa Kurz and Kimberly Dimitroff have led the offensive charge — the duo has scored five goals in the last two games — Kurz with three and Dimitroff with two. However, Kurz credited the team effort for the win.

“Everybody stepped up and everybody played well, it was not just one or two players, it was a team effort,” said Kurz after the team’s victory over Buffalo last Thursday.

While the offense has been rolling, the defense has been just as steady, headed by two veteran senior players in defender Britt Laing and goalkeeper Alicia Fernandez. Laing’s durability has been noted as she has set the team record for most career matches played with 81. While Fernandez has enjoyed a terrific season in goal for the Flashes, setting numerous records.

Even the team’s freshman have gained valuable experience and contributed to the teams success. Freshman forward Beth Diederich scored the first goal of her career in the team’s first-round tournament win against Central Michigan. While freshman defender Megan Hill made a game-saving play, clearing away an attempted game-winning goal in the same game.

With the team’s first-round win against Central Michigan, the Flashes will advance to their third semi-final tournament game in school history. The Flashes will battle the seventh-seeded Northern Illinois Huskies. The two teams met on Oct., 6 in Dekalb, Illinois, with the Huskies taking the game 2-0.

The team made a run through the postseason tournament last year, making it all the way to the MAC Championship.

Contact soccer reporter Steve Voicik at [email protected].