Soccer ready to dominate MAC

Matt Peters

Senior midfielder Jen Frey dribbles around an Eastern Michigan defender last fall at the Kent State soccer field.

Credit: Beth Rankin

The Kent State women’s soccer team could have been compared to Jimi Hendrix’s early days working as a guitarist for Little Richard.

They showed potential, but for the most part they were playing second fiddle to the rest of the Mid-American Conference.

Now, those days are past, and the team appears ready to make a run at a third consecutive Mid-American Conference regular season title.

In the span of three years the Flashes have gone from near the bottom of the MAC to the top.

At least as far as predictions go.

The Flashes were picked to finish first in the conference and win the post-season tournament, according to the MAC women’s soccer preseason poll. The poll is voted on by the MAC head coaches.

Although Kent State finished first in the conference during the regular season the last two seasons, they lost their first playoff match both times.

Maybe the third time will be the charm.

Last season, the Flashes closed out the regular season with a whirlwind finish. Going into the final weekend, the Flashes were in fourth place. With two wins against Ohio and Marshall, the Flashes catapulted into a first place tie.

The Flashes are led by an experienced senior class that has helped to transform the team over the last three years. Ashley Bohinc, Jen Frey, Wendy Gamble, Caiti Grippa, Raetta Hord and Amanda Messer still remain from a class that began as 11 players. With the exception of one player, Nikki Lichtenfeld, the Flashes return their entire starting roster.

Last season, the Flashes’ offense ranked third in the conference in goals and first in goals per game. The Flashes offensive attack was led largely by freshmen; rookies took three of the top five spots in the Flashes point scoring race. As a whole, the freshmen class scored 65 points while the Flashes totaled 104 points. Freshman Kimberly Dimitroff led the Flashes in points and finished second in the conference.

Defensively, Kent State finished third in the conference in goals against and goals against average.

The Flashes open the season at nationally ranked Ohio State Friday.

Contact editor Matt Peters at [email protected].