By John Ostapowicz
Despite a loss to the University of Detroit Mercy on Sept. 14, the Youngstown State University women’s soccer team bounced back with a win against Northern Kentucky University on Sept. 17.
The Penguins started conference play against Detroit Mercy on the road, and despite a late goal by sophomore Marissa Masano 70 minutes into the game, it proved not enough. The Titans downed the Penguins 2-1 in the first conference game of the season.
For Masano, it marked her first collegiate goal from an assist from redshirt freshman Tatum Gretz. Masano tried to lead the offense despite a 2-nil deficit in the second period.
Youngstown State returned home to Farmers National Bank Field inside the Covelli Sports Complex and defeated the Norse, 2-1.
The Penguins’ offense looked dominant as they jumped out to a 2-nil lead. The first goal was scored on a secondary assist by freshman Emma Berdiner and graduate student Regan LaVigna to senior Lianna Van Sice.
The assist opportunity allowed Van Sice to jump out past the Norse goalie, senior Mickayla Kowalski, for a wide open opportunity for the team. The goal marks Van Sice’s second of the season to go along with three assists off corner kicks and currently leads the team in points with seven points.
The second offensive score came in the second period from another secondary assist by Gretz and junior Elis Klein Spindola to graduate student Abriana Rondin at the 47:24 mark to put the Penguins up by two.
“[Klien Spondola] is an awesome player to play with. She is one of the most selfless players, when she got that ball in the box, I knew if I called for it, she was going to play it,” Rondin said.
In total, four assists were recorded on the day which is a game high for the Penguins this season.
For Rondin, it marks her first goal of the season as she adds to her historic career with eight goals and 21 assists.
Before the match up against Youngstown State, Kowalski only allowed one goal over 500 minutes played.
For head coach Brian Shrum, the offense has gotten better and that started with two veteran players who made crucial plays for the team.
“It came from two players who were really looking to step up and we’ve been asking our wingers to do a little more with the ball,” Shrum said.
Defensively, Brooklynn Kirkpatrick recorded five saves and currently leads the Horizon League with 48 saves and an average of 5.33 saves per game.
The women’s soccer team improves to 5-3-1 overall and 1-1 in Horizon League play. The Penguins currently sit at fifth place in the conference standings.
Youngstown State is back in action against Wright State University on Sept. 21 in Dayton, Ohio. For more information on the game, check out ysusports.com and keep up to date with the team @ysuwsoccer on Instagram and Twitter.