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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Rookies, veterans mesh as soccer begins its season

The Kent State Women’s Soccer team joins in a hype chant before the game against Northern Illinois University on Oct. 7. Kent State Flashes won 2-0.

Life will be different for the Kent State women’s soccer team without 2021 Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and back-to-back ALL-MAC first-team winner Tianna Harris.

Over her four-year career, Harris scored 11 goals, with four being game winners.

However, Kent State will return its three highest goal scorers from last season: junior midfielders Alisa Arthur, Siena Stombolich and sophomore midfielders Kelsey Salopek.

Who counted for nine of the team’s 18 goals a season ago.

Salopek will look to have another great season after making the MAC All-Freshman team last season. 

The Flashes will rely on a stout back line led by four seniors and graduate senior goalkeeper Sarah Melén, who tallied 57 saves and five shutouts last season.

Senior defender Dalaney Ranallo and junior defender Joey Skillen helped lead last season’s team to five shutouts. 

Kent State freshman midfielder Kelsey Salopek steps into a kick during her soccer team’s game against Ball State Oct. 21, 2022. (Destanee Cruz)

Both players were named Academic All-MAC honors. 

The Flashes welcome nine freshmen onto the roster who have already made an impact early in the season. 

Freshman forward Josie Morgan made her presence known after scoring goals in both games to start the season.

Kent State is now 2-2-2 on the season. Last season, through six games, the team was 0-4-2.

KSU scored six goals this season and allowed nine – in 2022, the team found the back of the net once and allowed 11 goals.  

Four of the six goals scored have been freshmen, with the other two coming from midfielder Alanna Raimondo. 

The team showed toughness against a talented No. 21 Pittsburgh team on Aug. 24, losing 1-0.

During the contest, the Panthers managed 25 shots with 11 on goal; KSU had 10 shots with three on goal.

Melén recorded a season-high 10 saves.

“The team battled, they worked really hard…they really showed a lot of courage, but we have to get better and start getting the ball down and playing,” coach Rob Marinaro said. 

Heading out West

On Aug. 31, the Flashes started a two-game road trip in Arizona, taking on The University of Arizona (2-1-2) and Arizona State University (3-0-3).

This is the first time KSU has played either team. In the game against UA, the Flashes trailed 1-0 at halftime. 

As Melén totaled four saves, however, in the first 25 minutes of the second half, the Wildcats scored three times, making the score 4-0. 

UA would find the back of the net one final time in the 74th minute, winning the contest 5-0. 

This was the second time KSU has been shut out this season. 

On Sunday, the Flashes kicked off their final game against Arizona State. The Wildcats scored the only goal of the first half, and after 45 minutes, the score was 1-0. 

During the first half, ASU managed six shots – KSU had three. 

Seven minutes into the second half, junior midfielder Alisa Arthur found freshman midfielder Alanna Raimondo, tying the game 1-1 – her first career goal.

Despite earning four corner kicks in the second half, the Flashes tied the Wildcats 1-1. 

This was the second tie of the season, with the other coming against Colgate (1-1) on Aug. 20.

Kent State junior defense player Dalaney Ranallo. (Destanee Cruz)

Back at home

Kent State will return home after their trip out west to battle Duquesne Sunday at 1 p.m. for senior day – the Flashes are 0-1-1 at home. 

The Dukes are 2-4 overall and have scored nine goals, allowing 12 goals. 

KSU is 2-1 lifetime against Duquesne – the Flashes lost the last matchup 2-1 in 2012.

“A really important day as we celebrate our seniors,” Marinaro said. “It’s important that we honor all the work that they have done here for the program and representing the Kent State soccer brand.”

Matthew Franos is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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