Penguins cool off the Panthers

Eva Sunjevaric avoids defenders against Cleveland State Oct. 5. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

By Cameron Niemi

The Youngstown State University women’s soccer team hosted Horizon League’s first place University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Oct 12. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Panthers came into the match with a 6-0 record in the Horizon League, while the Penguins came in with a 2-4-1 record following a loss to Oakland University.  

The first 45 minutes of play went without a score. Both teams went into the half with just 10 total shots on goal in the first period. 

Milwaukee had eight shots on goal and Youngstown State had two. Senior Brooklynn Kirkpatrick had four saves in the first period and one save in the second. 

The first goal of the game came at the 47:43 mark of the match. A corner kick from senior Justine Appolonia was sent into the box and sophomore Emma Rigone scored off a header, which gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead early in the second period. 

The Panthers responded at the 55-minute mark with a penalty kick which resulted in a goal and tied the match 1-1. 

The Penguins played tough for the next 35 minutes as they tried to take another lead in the game. When the final buzzer sounded, the Penguins celebrated the hard-fought draw that took place. 

Head coach Brian Shrum spoke about the confidence he has in his team for its last two games.

“All coaches are confident in their team. I would not be any less confident with this team playing against any team in the conference, [or] any team in the country,” Shrum said. “Just go out and play the way we want to play and hopefully carry it out. It’s tough on the road but we can get it done.”

Despite not winning the match, Youngstown State needed this game to stay alive in the Horizon League playoff race. The final two games of the season will be crucial for the Penguins in determining the top six teams who will make playoffs. 

Appolonia spoke highly about the team with two must win games on the horizon and getting the job done.

“I know we will,” Appolonia said. “We have said it the entire season. We all have confidence that we can win the entire thing. That’s how we are going into the next two games.”  

YSU moved to 6-6-3 on the season and 2-4-2 in the conference. The Penguins will need to take care of business in the final two games, and they will also need certain teams in the conference to lose, win or draw if they want a spot in the Horizon League Tournament. 

The Penguins currently have eight conference points and they would need to win out to make the conference tournament. The conference takes the top six teams for the tournament and YSU sits in 9th place. 

YSU will travel to Wisconsin to take on the last place University of Wisconsin Green-Bay at 2 p.m. on Oct. 21. For more information, go to To watch the match go to ESPN+.