Soccer Quarterfinals

Members of the Kent State soccer team celebrate during their win against Toledo in the MAC Quarterfinals on Sunday Oct. 31 in Kent, Ohio. 

With 12 minutes remaining, the Kent State soccer team was down 2-1 to Toledo in Sunday’s Mid-American Conference tournament quarterfinals. 

Ten minutes later, the Flashes had scored three more goals and clinched a semi-final rematch with Ohio in the tournament. 

“I’m really proud of the team’s resiliency,” coach Rob Marinaro said. “To battle back from down a goal twice shows a lot of character on this team. They just kept on working and finally found a way through.” 

Toledo scored 15 minutes into Sunday’s game. The Flashes tied it four minutes later when freshman midfielder Siena Stambolich sent a pass from redshirt senior forward Cameron Shedenhelm into the goal.  

Toledo took the lead back with 16 minutes left. Four minutes later, sophomore midfielder Giulia Giovinazzi headed in a corner kick from redshirt senior defender Karly Hellstrom to tie the game again. 

With eight minutes left in the game, Hellstrom scored on a penalty kick, and the Flashes had their first lead of the day. 

"All around, we just worked really hard, and we won all the 50/50 balls,” Shedenhelm said. “We weren’t going to take no for an answer during the game. The key was we just had the whole team grounded. Everyone was locked in and knew exactly what we were there for.” 

With less than two minutes left, Shedenhelm evaded a defender and scored to seal the game. Sophomore defender Dalaney Ranallo picked up an assist on the play. 

“All the people that scored the goals were different people,” Shedenhelm said. “You can do as much of a film session with a team and focus on players, but we have so many key assets to our team from defense to midfield all the way to the forwards. There’s no stopping that many people.

“Offensively, keeping our heads with how the game was going for us was really key. Trusting that our midfield and defense were going to get us the ball. Even if we didn’t have a lot of opportunities, we needed to put the ones we do have in the back of the net. It was pure hard work and keeping your head on your shoulders.” 

KSU took 21 shots, 11 on goal while Toledo took six shots, three on goal. Kent State’s four goals were the most Toledo allowed in a game this season. The Rockets allowed just 0.82 goals per game in MAC play. 

The Flashes will play their semi-final game against Ohio on Thursday at Bowling Green, the regular season champion. KSU tied Ohio 0-0 in their last game of the regular season. 

“OU is a really strong team,” Marinaro said. “They’re very well-coached and it’ll be a very difficult game, but this team has been resilient all year long. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.” 

The winner of the KSU-Ohio game will play the winner of Bowling Green’s with Buffalo in the MAC championship Sunday.

“Right now we’re just focusing on the OU game,” Shedenhelm said. “We’re not really focused on the other team, just playing what we know. I think the No. 1 thing is just keeping resilient and keeping your head on your shoulders. Even if the game’s not going your way, just knowing we can come back and win any game.

“I think we’re all really excited. We know we can win the game. We had some unlucky posts and crossbars in the game against them, and we were at their place. There’s no home advantage. We’re playing at BG. I think we’re all really excited to get that win against them.” 

Cole Oswald is a reporter. Contact him at doswald4@kent.edu.

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