KENT, Ohio – The Kent State women's soccer team was voted by the league's coaches to win the 2014 Mid-American Conference East Division crown in, the Conference office announced today. Western Michigan was selected to finish first in the West Division and is also the predicted champion of the MAC Tournament.
The Golden Flashes completed the 2013 season with a 12-7-1 overall record and posted a 7-4-1 mark in MAC East play. The squad lost eight seniors to graduation, including the MAC's leading scorer and First Team All-MAC selection Jessacca Gironda, and the MAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year Morgan Mah.
Head Coach Rob Marinaro, who enters his 14th season at the helm, will look to senior veterans Stephanie Haugh, Mariah Sidwell, Renee Loya and Calli Rinicella to pick up the slack. Along with the talented senior class, comes plenty of experience from the junior and sophomore classes.
Players such as Jenna Hellstrom, Brittany Maisano and Abbie Lawson, who were all named to the MAC All-Freshman squad, saw a lot of minutes in 2013. Hellstrom saw action in 16 games and was the second-leading scorer with 15 points (5g, 5a) and was recently selected to the 2014 College Sports Madness Pre-season All-MAC team. Maisano and Lawson were mainstays on the field for the Golden Flashes last year seeing action in all 20 games. Lawson also added two assists last season. Sophomore Morgan Williams, who saw action in 16 games, will also add depth to the lineup.
Juniors Madison Helterbran and Stephanie Senn, also named to the College Sports Madness All-MAC squad, will return to the field for the Flashes. Both competed in all 20 games last season, as the midfielder from North Canton, Ohio added two goals and a team-high six assists. Senn will lead the defense between the pipes. The junior recorded seven shutouts and had a .802 save percentage.
Marinaro also added nine newcomers to the lineup; Katie Kingsbury, Karli Paracca, Hayden Pascoe, Jaime Eiben, Mackenzie Lesnick, Kristen Brots, Doni Capehart, Lexi Mathern, and Adrianna Currie.
Kent State opens its season at noon on Friday, Aug. 22 against Western Illinois. The Blue & Gold scrimmaged Canisius College on Saturday and defeated the Golden Griffins, 1-0. View the Kent State women's soccer schedule on kentstatesports.com.
2014 MAC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
(First place votes in parentheses)
1. Kent State (5)
2. Miami (7)
6. Bowling Green
1. Western Michigan (7)
2. Eastern Michigan (2)
3. Ball State (2)
4. Central Michigan (1)
6. Northern Illinois
MAC Tournament Predicted Champion: Western Michigan