Soccer team tunes up for conference play

Deanna Stevens

Sophomore Brittany Fracasso fights off an Ohio State defender during a game Aug. 26. The Flashes travel to Youngstown State tonight at 7 p.m.

Credit: Jason Hall

The Kent State soccer team finally returns to the Kent State soccer field on Sunday, after being on the road for the last two weeks.

While Mid-American Conference play starts next week, the Flashes still have some business to handle this weekend.

Consistently working hard is an important point KSU coach Rob Marinaro wants his team to learn.

“No matter who we play, we need to play hard,” said Marinaro. “Let the outcome fall where it may. But most of all, we need to be the hardest working team on the field.”

After a 1-2-1 road trip, the Flashes (2-3-1) look to get back to the .500 mark today at Youngstown State.

Senior Wendy Gamble said the key to success against Youngstown State is keeping their edge.

“We need to have good movement off the ball,” Gamble said. “And we need to keep our desire and heart. We’re a strong team, and if we play harder we’ll get it.”

This weekend marks the last two games before MAC play, and Marinaro is looking forward to the games to prepare the team.

“We need these next two games to figure out where we are,” Marinaro said. “It is a process. We are always looking to improve.”

Marinaro was most pleased with the team’s double-overtime effort against Oakland.

“Against Oakland we played well for a good period of time,” Marinaro said. “We really put in 110 minutes of solid hard work.”

The road trip, however wasn’t just about wins or losses. It was a learning experience for Kent State.

“We really learned about becoming a unit,” freshman Kristen Nelson said. “We learned each other’s strengths and how to play to them.”

While Nelson was learning, she also was contributing to the team’s cause. She had 12 saves in the game against Oakland, the second-most saves by a Kent State player in one game in six years. Lindsey Mitchell had 15 in 1999.

“It was one of those things where I was confident in everything happening,” Nelson said about her performance. ” I was confident in my teammates and everything was just clicking.”

Gamble and sophomore Lisa Kurz, who were named to the University of Central Florida Invitational all-tournament team during the first leg of the trip, displayed other notable performances.

The Flashes play at 7 p.m. at Youngstown State. They return home for the first time in nearly three weeks at 1 p.m. on Sunday against Wright State.

Contact soccer reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected]