‘We lost our rhythm’: Senior day closes with a tie in soccer battle

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

Kent State’s soccer team started its game with high energy. But as the game progressed, that energy didn’t continue.

In the first half, the Flashes made six shots. In the second, they had one.

“We were just trying to manage the game,” coach Rob Marinaro said, “but did not have the killer instinct to go out and get a second goal to close out the game. We lost our rhythm, and that hurt us.”

Sunday, the Flashes tied Miami 1-1 at Zoeller Field.

“Sometimes, it’s just the flow of the game,” Marinaro said. “We played more on our heels, when we needed to play with the confidence this team has built so far – making good connections so we can be aggressive on the attack.”

KSU sits at 3-6-4 overall and is tied for third in the Mid-American Conference with Western Michigan at 3-1-2.

Miami is 6-3-4 on the season and is fifth in the MAC at 2-1-3. Buffalo is first at 4-0-2.

The Flashes struck first with a goal by Siena Stambolich 20 minutes into the game.

The sophomore midfielder has three goals on the season and is tied for first on the team in scoring. Sophomore midfielder Alisa Arthur and freshman midfielder Kelsey Salopek have also totaled three goals.

KSU led 1-0 at halftime.

Kent State had totaled six shots by the half, and Miami had three – both teams had two on goal.

With 24 minutes left in the game, the RedHawks set up a corner kick.

Miami junior midfielder Camber Hayes fired a ball into a crowd of players in front of the goal, and freshman Norah Roush headed a ball past the diving Kent State goalkeeper.

The score was now 1-1. This was the last scoring play of the game.

In the second half, Miami had eight corners – KSU had two.

The Flashes had seven shots total with two on goal; the RedHawks had nine shots with five on goal.

Sunday was senior day for the soccer program.

Lizzie Philibin, Tianna Harris, Sarah Melén and Lauryn Arruda were honored before the game.

“These ladies have been amazing leaders for this program,” Marinaro said. “They know what it takes to be successful in this conference and make sure everyone else is on that same page.”

Arruda, who had been sidelined with a meniscus injury the past five weeks, made her return in the Flashes’ win on Oct. 3.

“I’ve had to take a different approach to being a leader this season,” Arruda, who totaled one shot against Miami, said, “giving little tips to all of the forwards and telling them what they can do to be better in games. I know they hear from the coaches, but coming from a player can mean a little more.”

Keeping the winning mindset from last year’s seniors has been important, Arruda said. In 2021, the Flashes finished 13-5-3 and lost to Bowling Green in the MAC championship game.

“We lost a couple of major players, and we’ve had a tougher time this year,” she said. “We’re trying to keep it positive and the team environment good so it can translate on the field.”

Melén has recorded 160 saves in her career – the eighth most in program history.

Last season, Harris was named MAC defensive player of the year and first-team in the conference.

Harris became a mentor for freshman defender Abby this season.

“Coming in as a freshman, I had no idea what I was doing,” Breitschuh said. “Playing next to Tianna has been amazing, and she is an amazing leader and has been a huge help all year.”

The Flashes are back at Dix Stadium to take on Bowling Green  (5-4-3 overall, 2-2-2 MAC) at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Falcons are currently fourth in the MAC.

“We just need to continue starting games strong,” Marinaro said. “Keeping our current rotation of players and staying with the ones that are giving us the best opportunity to win.”

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