Soccer still left searching for a win after fifth-straight scoreless match

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

The Kent State women’s soccer team had won 12 consecutive games against Youngstown State.

Thursday night, that streak came to an end.

“We’re doing things and getting better in moments, but lacking the confidence in close games and the belief that we’re going to put one in the back of the net,” head coach Rob Marinaro said. “It is my responsibility to make sure that they find that.”

The Flashes fell to the Penguins 1-0. This is Kent State’s sixth game of the season – and it has only scored one goal, which came during its season opener against Cleveland State.

“We had a shot tonight that got cleared off the line, and another hit the crossbar,” Marinaro said. “It’s hard to say that we’ve been unlucky, but we just need to see one of those go in.”

KSU is now 0-4-2 on the season. YSU has improved to 2-4-1. In the Mid-American Conference, Buffalo has the best record at 4-1.

YSU came onto their home field with an aggressive mindset. Marinaro was not surprised.

“That’s just part of the rivalry,” he said. “Many players know each other and have been playing against each other multiple times. This was their opportunity to jump on us; we should have responded better.”

Kent State made four shots in the first half, all on goal. Sophomore Siena Stambolich had a pair of shots saved to end the half. YSU totaled four saves by the break.

The Penguins scored the go-ahead goal with 19 minutes left in the game.

In the final nine minutes, Kent State had three shots, all saved, preventing a tying goal.

Marinaro said it will require a team effort to fix these early-season offensive struggles.

“The team is giving us everything they can,” Marinaro said. “I have to continue to give them positive thoughts, and they need to just continue breaking down the defense, eventually putting one in the back of the net.”

Over their last two games, the Flashes have had 26 shots, with 15 on goal.

“We’re continuing to create opportunities to score,” Marinaro said. “I believe once we see them go in, everyone’s confidence will build, and we can play a little more freely.”

Redshirt senior Tianna Harris, last season’s MAC defensive player of the year, led the team with two shots, both on goal. Goalkeeper senior Sarah Melén faced five shots, recorded one save and allowed one goal.

Kent State will complete its road trip Sunday, taking on No. 22 Ohio State (4-1-1) at 6 p.m. This is the Flashes’ final non-conference game. Mid-American Conference play begins Sept. 22 against Ohio, which was picked to finish first in the conference in the preseason poll.

“Ohio State is going to be an excellent opponent,” Marinaro said. “I think it’s an opportunity for us to show ourselves the fight that we have. They’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on us, so we have to defend extremely well as a team. We can do that by limiting their opportunities to see if we can get one on our end.”

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