Penguins tussle with Power 5 opponent

By Madeline Hippeard

The Youngstown State University lacrosse team opened its 2024 season Feb. 9 with a 19-8 loss against the University of Oregon.

The ‘Guins began the game by allowing Oregon three unanswered goals. Junior midfielder Molly Sheridan scored the ‘Guins first goal of the season at the 9:10 mark of the first quarter. 

Freshman attacker Lena Cox scored for the Penguins 35 seconds after Sheridan. Cox then scored again at the 5:14 mark of the first quarter, making the score 3-3. 

The Ducks scored the next four points of the match. 

With 7:20 left in the second quarter, Cox scored her third point of the game. Freshman midfielder Katie Grottenthaler followed with another score for the ‘Guins a minute later, bringing the score to 8-5.

Oregon finished the first half with four more unanswered goals.

The Ducks scored the first point of the third quarter, followed by another goal by Grottenthaler, making the score 13-6. 

Freshman attacker Brooke Peck scored for the Penguins with 7:20 left in the game in response to a 4-0 run by Oregon. 

The ‘Guins’ final goal of the game was scored by Grottenthaler. 

During the 2023 season, Youngstown State underwent a coaching change mid-season and finished with a 6-12 record.

In July 2023, the Penguins had another change when Rob Harris was named head coach.

Junior attacker Callie Vaudry said the Penguins focused on growing closer as a team throughout the offseason. 

“Being able to trust each other is one of the most important things for lacrosse. By building those relationships off the field, I think we’re in a super good headspace going into our first game,” Vaudry said.

Harris said he is excited to lead the ‘Guins in the upcoming season.

“I think everyone’s going to count us out. You’re going to see this in preseason polls and things like that. They think that the team doesn’t have a chance to be good, which I think is awesome to be the underdog,” Harris said. “This year is going to be kind of a ‘let’s shock the world a little bit,’ and just kind of show them that even though we’re young and maybe we have lower numbers than others, we can still compete with the best.” 

Before serving Youngstown State, Harris led the Davenport University women’s lacrosse team to a .700 win percentage over the course of nine seasons as head coach. 

The lacrosse team will return to action at 3 p.m. on Feb. 16 when it hosts The Ohio State University in YSU’s home opener at the Watson and Tressel Training Site.