The Kent State soccer team finished its non-conference schedule on Sunday with a 2-1 loss to nationally ranked West Virginia.
The Flashes will begin Mid-American Conference play on Thursday. KSU was 4-3 in non-conference play, tied with Ohio for the third-best record in the league. Buffalo has the MAC’s best record at 6-1 but lost to West Virginia 4-0.
“We just played the 15th best team in the country to a 2-1 result, and we’re really pleased with how we’re playing right now,” coach Rob Marinaro said. “We’re looking forward to getting started in the conference.”
West Virginia had 11 corner kicks and took 19 shots, nine of them on goal. But the Flashes only allowed two scores.
“We had a really nice showing defensively against a fantastic team like West Virginia,” Marinaro said. “They had a lot of shots, but we limited them to two really good scoring opportunities and neutralized a lot of what they were trying to do."
“We were just trying to limit a lot of the ways they were playing. We didn’t high press them so we didn’t get caught up high on their field. We tried to put a lot of numbers behind the ball and really keep them to the outsides. For the most part, the team did a wonderful job defending today.”
Redshirt senior forward Cameron Shedenhelm scored KSU’s only goal on a penalty kick with 56 seconds left. The Flashes took six shots, with three on goal.
“We knew it was going to be difficult to create a lot of offense against West Virginia,” Marinaro said. “They’re just really athletic defensively. We knew we were going to have to play a really disciplined defensive game and look to counterattack them."
“We didn’t have a lot of opportunities, but we did have enough opportunities to make it a competitive game.”
The Flashes had three yellow cards and committed 14 fouls to West Virginia’s seven. West Virginia also scored its first goal on a penalty kick.
“The first half we lacked a little discipline,” Marinaro said. “We’re working really hard and sometimes in the final attempt we needed to just contain that. We appreciate the young ladies and their work rate and what they were trying to accomplish. We just needed a little bit more discipline to not foul.”
Kent State will play Akron (2-6) at home on Thursday. The Flashes are not focused on the rivalry, Marinaro said.
“I know they’re the opponent on Thursday, and we need to do as best as we possibly can,” Marinaro said. “It’s hard to overlook that stuff, but our focus is going to be starting the MAC the right way.”
Cole Oswald is a reporter. Contact him at email@example.com.