Winless and waiting: Soccer’s five-game scoring drought ends while losses continue

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

The Kent State women’s soccer team had gone five games without scoring a goal.

Sunday night, junior defender Dalaney Ranallo ended that streak in a close match with No. 22 Ohio State.

“For them to feel it and see they’re capable of scoring was important,” coach Rob Marinaro said. “We created opportunities, and their goalie made some good saves tonight. I think it’s really going to create some confidence in the group, and that’s what we need right now.”

Kent State’s only goal came 20 minutes into the game on a free kick scored by Ranallo, assisted by sophomore midfielder Alisa Arthur. In its seven games so far, the team has only scored two goals – the other coming in a tie game against Cleveland State in the season opener.

KSU falls to 0-5-2 on the season. OSU improves to 5-1-1. Overall, before conference play starts Sept. 22, Buffalo remains at the top of the Mid-American Conference at 5-1. Kent State ranks last.

The Flashes’ defense needed to be the focus against OSU, which has scored seven goals in its last three games.

Marinaro said his team put up a good fight against the Buckeyes.

“We as the coaching staff know what they’re capable of,” Marinaro said. “Everybody played to that level, putting in the effort and hard work. That’s what we’re trying to build as a team.”

Despite the sixth-straight loss, Marinaro was pleased with how KSU performed on the field.

“We were just so proud of the fight and effort showed,” he said. “That’s what is going to move this program and show them we’re capable of doing.”

After allowing two goals in the first 17 minutes of the game, the defense found its footing, only giving up one shot on goal for the remainder of the match.

“The back end really stepped up tonight,” Marinaro said. “The resilience of them was fantastic. It showed what the defense is capable of doing when everyone is working together.”

The Flashes totaled six shots, with four on goal. The Buckeyes had 12 shots, also with four on goal.

Freshman defender Jillian Marvin led Kent State with two shots. Senior goalkeeper Sarah Melén faced four shots, recorded two saves and allowed two goals.

Marinaro wants to see the effort on the defensive side carry into conference play.

“The caliber of players that we have on that side of the ball showed tonight, that will need to be something we need to continue to demonstrate,” he said.

Kent State will now have 10 days off to prepare for its MAC debut.

“We have to treat this like another preseason,” Marinaro said. “Having everyone be able to get refreshed is going to be more important, just being able to regroup so we can come out of this on the right foot.”

The Flashes begin MAC play against Ohio at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at Dix Stadium. The Bobcats (3-2-1) were picked to finish first in the conference’s preseason poll.

“We have 11 conference games, and we have to make the most of every single one,” Marinaro said. “We have to make sure we come out and take care of business for 90 minutes.”

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