By Marc Weems
With the Youngstown State University soccer team (4-5-1) through half of its season, it’s time to look at how the Penguins have fared so far.
After an underwhelming 2016 season where it only won three games and never really got in a groove.
This year has been much different, however, at YSU. Although the Penguins have struggled recently, YSU started the season with four wins in the first five games of the year. That included two dominant road wins at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and at Southern University.
One of the main reasons YSU is having a much better year than last has been the play of senior forward Kyler Lum.
Lum leads the Penguins with a career-high five goals and with a career-high 11 points.
“When I came to YSU, I really liked the team,” Lum said. “My club coach is who I look to the most. Problem is, he’s from England where the style of play is very slow.”
Lum said that because of that style of that coach she was too slow when she got to college.
“I definitely struggled then. I think I’ve picked up the momentum,” Lum said. “I’m a very dynamic player. I get out of tight spaces very well so when there are a lot of people around me, I can get out of it.”
Beside Lum’s play, YSU has gotten much better as a unit. Goalkeeper Kylee Moffett has been spectacular for YSU this year. She has earned three shutouts and played to one tie. She has given up just 12 goals in her nine games started this season.
“We’re definitely more positive this year as a collective team,” Lum said. “I think we are buying into the style of play. Everything that the coaches are telling us we are implementing within our style. Last year, we weren’t doing as well. We were losing a lot which was really taking a toll on our whole team.”
She also said that because of that, the team was down on itself.
“This year we are a lot more confident,” Lum said. “We have a lot of new players and we are still seeing how each other works. As a team, we just want to be positive. If we give 110 percent each game and lose, at least we gave it our all.”
Also in this season, senior midfielder Courtney Lavin scored her first career goal in a win against the University of Indiana-Fort Wayne.
YSU’s biggest problem so far has been penalties but that is correctable. YSU has drawn 10 yellow cards to its opponents three.
YSU’s next match is against Northern Kentucky University on Sept. 23 at Farmers National Bank Field.