Soccer strikes back: Last-second KSU goal leads to a tie in 25th anniversary battle

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

With forty seconds left in Sunday’s game, Kent State’s soccer team had a set piece 35 yards from the goal and was looking for a player in a position to score.

Sophomore midfielder Alisa Arthur fired the ball to junior defender Dalaney Ranallo, who was standing in front of the goal.

Ranallo deflected the ball off her head, and it ricocheted off the left post past the Toledo goalkeeper. This tied the game 2-2 with 22 seconds remaining in the second half. The Rockets advanced the ball down the field, but the KSU defense prevented any game-winning goal opportunity.

“Set pieces are something that we work on every single week,” Ranallo said. “I’ve just always had a knack for the ball, and I knew as soon as it left Arthur’s foot, I would have a chance to put it in the goal.”

Arthur has totaled one goal and two assists this season, and Ranallo has had two goals.

Coach Rob Marinaro believes his team is the most dangerous in set pieces.

“We’ve seen a lot of success in that area this season, and we just want to keep putting pressure on the other team,” he said. “They did a great job executing that in the final seconds today.”

After the 2-2 tie, the Flashes are now 2-6-3 overall and fourth in the Mid-American Conference at 2-1-1.

The Rockets fall to 1-6-4 and 0-2-2 MAC and are tied for ninth with Eastern Michigan.

Buffalo and Ball State are in first at 3-0-1.

The game’s first goal came from Arthur when sophomore midfielder Siena Stambolich rifled a ball past two Rocket defenders and a diving goalie.

Kent State went into halftime leading 1-0. The team had four shots, all on goal, and Toledo got one shot off.

Marinaro was pleased with how his team started this game after allowing three goals in Thursday’s first half against Western Michigan.

“We had a nice crowd out here today that gave the players a little more motivation,” he said. “We just have to continue to press the other team from the start, and that’s what we did today. We just let up a little bit there in the second half.”

The Rockets scored the second half’s first goal, tying the game 1-1.

The wind and pressure from Toledo caused some problems advancing the ball throughout the second half.

“I feel like we were able to possess the ball pretty well today,” Marinaro said. “The wind was causing some havoc, and they kept the pressure on us to make good passes.”

With four minutes left in the game, the Rockets fired a ball that deflected off of senior goalie Sarah Melén to a Toledo player, who put it in the back of the net. The Rockets now had a 2-1 lead.

Marinaro said his team lacked the extra drive in the second half.

“I was impressed with the consistency the team played with today,” he said. “But when you have opportunities to put away a team, you have to do that. We could’ve had a second goal earlier in the game that would’ve allowed us to manage the game a whole lot better.”

The Flashes totaled nine shots and seven on goal; they had six corner opportunities.

Sunday, the Kent State soccer program celebrated its 25th anniversary. Alumnae came back to Zoeller Field, including Colleen Marcum – the program’s first head coach. She was head coach from 1997-2000.

“They’re the reason we’re all here today,” Marinaro said. “We’ve all got to celebrate with the ladies that paved the way and even helped create the program. Without them, there might not be a women’s soccer program here at Kent State, so we have to show them how much we appreciate and care about them.”

Ranallo said it’s important to hear the stories of former female athletes.

“We got to sit down and talk with them and get to know them,” she said. “Our program hasn’t been around for a very long time, so it was nice to learn more about the people that helped build this program.”

Connecting with alumni is something Marinaro wants to happen more.

“I don’t know about having something yearly, but we’re going to try and do things more often,” he said. “Alumni connection is important in building the Kent State soccer program.”

The Flashes travel to Eastern Michigan (1-2-1 MAC) at 4 p.m. Thursday.

“This is going to be another battle, and we have to compete from minute one,” Marinaro said. “We know what we need to do and that every team in the MAC is going to be good and do everything they can to outwork us.”

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