Flashes tune up for tourney time

Deanna Stevens

Catharine Marosszeky, freshman midfielder, cuts the ball around an Ohio player during the Oct. 21 game. Kent State won 3-2. The Flashes travel to Buffalo for their final Mid-American Conference game of the season tonight at 6 p.m.

Credit: Steve Schirra

The Kent State soccer team is getting ready for a weekend with a rise in intensity, a rise in emotion, and most importantly, a rise in the stakes.

The Mid-American Conference tournament is here – almost.

The tournament officially begins on Sunday. But before the tournament drama can unfold, the Flashes have one more team to play.

Kent State heads to Buffalo (5-11-1, 3-7-0) in the last game of the regular season, at 6 p.m. today. The ladies of the blue and gold are looking for a successful outcome today to solidify their positioning within the tournament.

Kent State is not the only team expecting to be successful as all of today’s games will set the tournament schedule. Eight of the 12 teams in the MAC make the tournament.

Currently Kent State and Toledo are tied for sixth place in the conference. The Flashes jumped two spots in the standings after two dramatic wins over Ohio and Akron last weekend.

If the tournament started today, the Flashes would be up against Ball State. Kent State lost to the Cardinals, 2-0, in the first conference game of the season.

As for planning ahead, Kent State coach Rob Marinaro does not want to jump too far in advance.

“A lot of our means are determined by who and where we play,” Marinaro said. “And we just want to take it one game at a time.”

Kent State has other pressing matters to address with Buffalo before the tournament.

The Flashes are not only approaching the Buffalo game technically, but they also want the win for a psychological advantage.

“We want to build momentum,” said Marinaro after Sunday’s win over Akron. “We’re playing better and more confident, and we want to carry that into next week.”

Now that “next week” has come, the team is modeling their coach’s attitude.

“We want to keep our momentum,” senior Jen Frey said after the Akron win. “We want to peak at the right time and keep going from there.”

And in order to keep focused on the task at hand, Marinaro is counting on his team to adhere to the strategy from day one, working hard as a team.

“It’s the end of the year mentality,” Marinaro said. “And it comes back to doing the best we can as a team.”

Contact soccer reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].