Soccer team aims to get atop MAC

Steven Voicik

Junior midfielder Amy Kessler goes for a slide kick during last Monday’s game. During the game the Flashes remained 1-1 to the Cleveland State Vikings, until junior Brittany Fracasso scored the tie breaking goal in double OT. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STA

Credit: Jason Hall

It was a record-setting first week for the Kent State soccer team. The Flashes opened the season against Big Ten opponent Ohio State and came away with a respectable 0-0 draw in Columbus.

Senior goalkeeper Alicia Fernandez led the way with reliable play throughout the game, and came up with 11 saves. In holding the Buckeyes scoreless, Fernandez broke her own record for most career shutouts: 13.

As host Kent State defeated Cleveland State 2-1 Monday in the regular season home opener, Fernandez again etched her name in the record books. Fernandez now holds the record for most career victories with 23.

In addition, it was just the second time in school history since 1998 the team opened the season with consecutive overtime games. With the win, Kent State is now 8-2 all-time in home openers.

Despite all of the facts and the records, Kent State is still looking to improve upon last year’s performance especially within the division. The team finished last year with an overall mark of 9-8-5(5-4-2 Mid-American Conference.) The team will look to accomplish this task with more experience on the field. The Flashes return nine starters from last year’s squad and 14 letter winners in all. The five seniors on the team are expected to provide valuable leadership as well.

Seniors Fernandez, Britt Laing, Heather Gilbert, and Danie Irwin are all three-year letter winners and hope to lead the Flashes to a successful season and postseason run in the MAC Tournament.

Kent State’s Cinderella run in last year’s tournament surprised a lot of people. The Flashes, seeded seventh knocked off second seeded Ball State in penalty kicks and later defeated Central Michigan on a goal by Catharine Marosszeky in overtime. The impressive tournament run ended in the championship game as Kent State was ousted 3-2 in penalty kicks by Bowling Green.

With that finish and several talented players returning to the team, the Flashes earned a fourth-place ranking in the preseason MAC poll this season.

Head coach Rob Marinaro will look to bring discipline, leadership and a hard working attitude to the team.

Marinaro has been around the game of soccer for many years and played his collegiate soccer at Clemson, where he was part of its 1987 national championship squad.

Marinaro is entering his tenth season with the program and sixth as head coach. He was named MAC coach of the twice-in 2003 and 2004. He has led the team to a school record twelve game unbeaten streak and ten game winning streak.

“We have proven that we belong at the top of the Mid-American Conference,” Marinaro said in a press release. “Now we just need to determine what is needed to stay there”

Kent State travels to Honolulu this weekend to participate in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Classic at the University of Hawaii. There Kent State will face Hawaii tomorrow and Winthrop Saturday.

Contact soccer reporter Steven Voicik at [email protected].


Aug. 25 – @ Ohio State, T 0-0

Aug. 28 – Cleveland State, W (2-1)

Sept. 1 – @ Hawaii

Sept. 2 – Winthrop @ Hawaii

Sept. 8 – @ Wright State

Sept. 10 – Youngstown State

Sept. 15 – St. Bonaventure

Sept. 17 – @ Pittsburgh

Sept. 22 – @ Ball State

Sept. 24 – @ Miami

Sept. 29 – Central Michigan

Oct. 13 – Bowling Green

Oct. 15 – Toledo

Oct. 20 – @ Ohio

Oct. 22 – Buffalo

Oct. 29 – MAC Tournament starts