Kent State’s women’s lacrosse will begin its 2020 campaign this Friday at 3 p.m. when the team will take on the University of Cincinnati at Dix Stadium. The Flashes are aiming to avenge their loss to the Bearcats in February of last year, where they dropped the inaugural match 19-8.
In their second and final season as an affiliate member of the ASUN Conference, the Flashes will set out to improve on their 2-15 record in 2019. Seventeen freshmen from last year’s roster will return for the 2020 season, all of which coach Brianne Tierney hopes will take big leaps in their sophomore seasons.
“I think we’re a different team now, with that experience factor, and with having a sophomore class, it’s to be expected,” Tierney says. “But the freshman class kind of brings a new energy and a new push to the group, so I’m excited about this year.”
Of those 17 players, three of them appear ready to build on immediate success during their first seasons. Midfielder Abby Jones, midfielder Madison Rapier and goalie Grace Merrill all earned ASUN Conference All-Freshman Team honors last season, while Jones found herself with an ASUN First Team All-Conference selection.
A Coon Rapids, Minnesota native, Jones led the Flashes with 52 total points in 2019, good enough for ninth in the ASUN Conference. She also led her team in draw controls (51), assists (20) and free position goals (8).
Although the Flashes bring plenty of talent and potential to the table in 2020, Tierney maintains their focus is more on the process of building a program at the moment.
“We want to compete for an ASUN Championship, but being in that growth part we’re still in the journey of this and having pride in that,” she said. “If our team continues some of the traditions they started last year, like never stopping or slowing down no matter how many points you’re down. They do a good job of that.”
The Cincinnati Bearcats are coming off of their best season in program history with a 12-7 record in 2019 and 4-1 in the AAC. The Flashes will be tested right from the start and Tierney’s group is excited and ready to begin at Dix Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Mason Lawlor is a sports reporter. Contact him at email@example.com.