By John Ostapowicz
The Youngstown State University women’s soccer season started off on the wrong foot as the team fell 0-1 on the road against the University of Akron on Aug. 18 and Valparaiso University on Aug. 21.
In the game against Akron, the Penguins outshot the Zips 13-7 but only managed one shot on goal. Senior Abriana Rondin and freshman Chloe Weiland led the team with three shots, although none landed in the net.
The game against Valparaiso was no different as the team was shut out for a second consecutive time. Despite the loss, junior Brooklynn Kirkpatrick warded off the Beacons until the final minutes of the game when a late score secured the Penguins fate.
Kirkpatrick continues to play at a high level averaging 19 saves over 4 games. Against Valparaiso, she faced 17 shots and only allowed one goal.
In both games, Youngstown State was unable to capitalize on its possessions. Over four games, the women’s soccer team has attempted 47 shots with only one goal to attest for its efforts.
On Aug. 25, the Penguins played a highly competitive home opener against Duquesne University but dropped the game 2-1. The Dukes now lead the all-time series 10-1-2 in the 13 times both teams have faced off.
Heading into the game, head coach Brian Shrum coached under Duke’s head coach Al Alvine for six seasons before accepting the Youngstown State head coaching job. He holds a 34-22-7 career record and a 18-10-2 mark in Atlantic-10 play during his tenure at Duquesne.
In the first half of play, senior Maddie Root was able to break the Penguins scoring drought as she scored her first goal of the season. The goal was assisted by junior Abby Knight who tallied her first assist of the season.
Shrum was pleased with how Root was able to go down the middle of the field and put the ball in the net from 28 yards out, while also being able to execute the play at a high level.
“She did a nice job. We’ve been talking about people and players wanting to take opportunities. She saw an opportunity and took it,” Shrum said.
Despite no goals so far to show for her outstanding freshman career, Taylor Berry continues to have a great season as she recorded five shots including four shots on goal. Against Valparaiso, she recorded three shots on goal to up her total to five on the season along with 10 attempts.
After the loss, the women’s soccer team headed to Loyola, Maryland to take on Loyola University of Maryland on Aug. 28. The Penguins fell to the Greyhounds 0-4, making it the third time this season the team was scoreless.
After Loyola, Youngtown traveled to Olean, New York to face off against St. Bonaventure University on Sept. 1. For more information on the game check out ysusports.com.
As the season goes on, the schedule proceeds to get tougher for the Penguins and Shrum knows that the team must turn things around before the point of no return. The Penguins are slated to play at home for two straight games which will be a breath of fresh air for the team.
“I think playing at home is something that the players enjoy as they get to play in front of their families.” Shrum said.
The Penguins start off 0-4 on the season and continue to look for their first win as the team’s at home for the next two games against Bucknell University on Sept. 4 and Kent State University on Sept. 8.