Tie moves soccer into 2nd place with two games to go

Redshirt senior Karly Hellstrom (23) kneels in front of the tied score board after the women’s soccer game against Central Michigan University on Oct. 21, 2021. Kent State tied with Central Michigan University 1-1 in double overtime during their last home game of the regular season.

Cole Oswald Reporter

The Kent State soccer team’s slow offensive start on Thursday night gave the team sole possession of second place in the Mid-American Conference.

But it may have made it more difficult to catch first-place Ohio. 

With two games to go in the regular season, Kent State is 6-1-2 in the MAC while Ohio is 7-0-2. Ohio beat Eastern Michigan 2-1 Thursday. 

Kent State tied Central Michigan 1-1 (7-7-1, 4-4-1) Thursday in the team’s last home game of the season. The Flashes are 10-4-2 overall.  

“It wasn’t a good enough start for us,” coach Rob Marinaro said. “Our expectations have got to be a lot higher for ourselves. We came out and played the way we know how to play in the second half, and we did it in overtime. But like I told the team, it’s gonna take 90 minutes. If it takes overtime then we take overtime, but we have to start our games a whole lot better.” 

Central Michigan scored with less than a minute to go in the first half when a Kent State set-piece went bad. It led to a multiple-player break against junior KSU goalkeeper Sarah Melén, who had no defensive help. Fourteen minutes into the second half, senior defender Tianna Harris tied the game with an assist from freshman midfielder Siena Stambolich. 

“I thought once we figured out how they were defending us, we created a lot more,” Marinaro said. “We were getting them behind, we were connecting players, and we’re playing to our capabilities. So we were taking over the game in the second half, but we have to get that offense going earlier.” 

Central Michigan took 15 shots, eight on goal, but the Flashes’ defense only allowed one goal. 

“The defense, I thought, was very good all day long,” Marinaro said. “They scored a wonderful goal from distance, and there’s not a whole lot you can do there. The defense was all over the place, they were neutralizing and the shots that we were giving them weren’t dangerous. They weren’t getting in behind, and they weren’t getting those real dangerous opportunities.” 

The Flashes went into overtime for the fifth time this season. They had won three of the four previous times and tied once.

“It’s not that we’re comfortable,” Marinaro said. “But we understand that we have some confidence going into overtime.” 

The Flashes play at Eastern Michigan (2-11-3, 1-6-2) Sunday while Ohio plays at Central Michigan.

Kent State plays at Ohio in the final game of the season on Oct. 28. 

“Tonight we fell a bit short, but we gave the effort, and we created the opportunities,” Marinaro said. “We were a little unlucky, but if they start off games properly we maybe see a different result.”

“Bottom line, kids have to come and show up and it’s gotta start from the first whistle. We can’t wait until something happens. We have to start dictating momentum right from the beginning of the game.”  

Cole Oswald is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].