Soccer stops short of goals — again — with 2 games ’til MAC start

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

The Kent State women’s soccer team has been held scoreless for 334 minutes.

Sunday, the drought extended another 90 minutes against Loyola.

Despite having a season-high 16 shots with seven on goal, the game ended 0-0.

“I think we had better matchups today than we’ve seen in our last few games,” head coach Rob Marinaro said. “Allowing us to show our athleticism gives us a little more room to attack.”

In the team’s five games so far this season, the Flashes have only scored one goal in their first competition against Cleveland State. By this time last season, KSU had already accrued 14 goals.

Despite this weekend’s scoreless finish, Kent State started the game strong, controlling the time of possession and putting up seven shots, three on goal.

Sophomore Siena Stambolich had a pair of shots tipped away at the end of the first half.

In the final four minutes, KSU got four shots off, including one by freshman Abby Breitschuh that soared over the crossbar as the final whistle blew.

KSU is now 0-3-2 on the season, and Loyola sits at 2-3-1.

After allowing seven goals to Pittsburgh on Thursday, Marinaro was pleased with how the defense bounced back.

“The team defense was excellent,” he said. “Everything was so much better tonight; we tracked the ball and doubled it down with our attack. It’s nice to see everyone slowly getting better, and some freshmen are starting to figure out the expectation, which is important because we’re relying on many young players.”

The Flashes were able to generate most of their offense through set pieces, including nine corner kicks.

Over the last three games, KSU has had seven corner-kick opportunities.

“We have to find a way to get lucky on offense,” Marinaro said. “Just have to be able to see the ball in the back of the net, so everyone can start building some confidence.”

Sunday’s game was the third consecutive road game for the Flashes.

“The game being played at different venues poses challenges,” Marinaro said. “It can be a bit of the unknown for the players stepping out onto the field. The playing surfaces are different, and the size of the stadiums are different.

“But the ladies came out tonight with good effort, and unfortunately, we couldn’t get the result we wanted.”

Freshman Kelsey Salopek and Stambolich led KSU with three shots on goal a piece.

Goalkeeper Sarah Melén faced seven shots, recording one save.

Kent State will continue its road trip when it takes on Youngstown State (1-4-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday. After their battle against the Penguins, the Flashes have one more game until Mid-American Conference play begins, which starts with a match against Ohio Sept. 22.

“We have to continue to make progress,” Marinaro said, “to have our defense carry the momentum they created and find a way to get our offense rolling.”

Jacob Shondel is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].