JACKSON’S KATIE KINGSBURY LEADS KENT STATE WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM BY EXAMPLE
Now a senior on the Kent State women’s soccer team, former Jackson goalkeeper Katie Kingsbury is far from the most heralded player on the squad. You won’t always see her name in the box score, but her leadership qualities certainly don’t go unnoticed.
“She's exactly what we're looking for in a student athlete,” Golden Flashes coach Rob Marinaro said of Kingsbury, who is known affectionately as “the team mom.”“She's so unselfish. It's not what is she going to get, it's what the team needs. She's really gone above and beyond what you'd expect of a young lady this age.. especially when she's not seeing the minutes that most kids get to see. She's really been a tremendous contributor to our program. She's been a tremendous mentor for our younger players, and has really held the standard very high for everyone on the team.”
“Being a part of the Kent State Women's soccer program has been an amazing experience, and I think I've made as much out of it as anyone could,” added Kingsbury, an exercise science major who readily admits that her primary motivation comes from the other players on the squad. “I love playing with my teammates, and I wouldn't do it without them.I'm there for everyone and I just love being with everyone.”
Kent State enjoyed the most successful season in program history in 2016 by posting a 15-3-2 record that included a Mid American Conference tournament title and the school’s first ever NCAA tournament appearance. The Golden Flashes won 10 consecutive games after dropping their season opener at Ohio State. Marinaro called Kingsbury’s number during that stretch when starter Ashleah McDonald couldn’t play against Buffalo last October, and the former Polar Bear delivered by recording seven saves in a 1-0 shutout that kept the streak alive and earned her MAC defensive player of the week honors.
“To have her come in at such a crucial point in the season and get a win was something really special,” Marinaro said. “She’s always stepped up and been a quality goalkeeper for us.”
“(Winning a championship) was awesome and it was a great experience for everyone on the team,” Kingsbury said. “Everything we worked so hard for (came to be). We did it. We broke down the wall.”
Kingsbury played the second half of Kent State August match with Cleveland State, and she played the entire match in non conference starts against St. Bonaventure and Florida Gulf Coast earlier this month. She was also in the net for the first half of Kent State's 1-0 shutout of Dayton on September 10, after which she and the other six seniors were honored for their contributions to the program. Although she’s not looking forward to the end of her competitive career, Kingsbury, who wants to earn a doctorate in physical therapy, does have the proper perspective.
“It's definitely difficult to swallow that this is my last year of soccer,” she said. “I have a countdown going, but I just think about cherishing this time. I only have so many days left, so I'm going to make the most of it.
I think it's something that I definitely want to continue with recreationally. I don't know if I would get into the coaching side of things. I have a lot of plans for my future that are outside of soccer. I'll miss it, but I need to move on.”
The way the current season is unfolding, Kingsbury may be able to delay her retirement for quite some time. The 2017 Golden Flashes are 6-3-1 overall, and Kent State is 2-0 in MAC play after posting home victories over Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan this past weekend. The team travels to Miami Friday afternoon before playing at Ball State on Sunday. The Red Hawks (0-9, 0-2) suffered setbacks at Bowling Green and Toledo during the opening weekend of conference play, while the Cardinals (3-5-2, 1-0-1) defeated Bowling Green and tied Toledo.
“It's hard to complain after winning both (conference) games, but I'd really like to see us step up a little bit more and play a little bit better,” Marinaro said. “I'd like to see us control the momentum a little bit better in games. We're still allowing teams to build too much momentum on us where we get caught defending way too much, but that comes with time. We have a lot of young players giving us a lot of quality minutes. The experienced players are trying to teach the younger players, but they don't learn as quickly until they actually go through it.
I love this team. I think there are a lot of quality young ladies on it. I think everyone's trying to do the right thing, so I'm never questioning that. I would like us to be playing better at this point in the season, but I think our kids understand that and they want more from themselves. When you want more and you're still picking up wins, those are good problems to have.”