By John Ostapowicz
After a loss to the University of Akron on Sept. 24, the Youngstown State University men’s soccer club fell short to Cleveland State University on Sept. 30.
With the team on the road for two games, the Penguins returned back home to Cafaro Family Field to take on the Vikings.
The Penguins started off strong in the first period with a goal by senior forward Miguel Rojas, assisted by senior Nathaniel Willison off a free kick inside the box.
The Youngstown State defense held the Vikings scoreless until the 30-minute mark, when a goal by Cleveland State sent the teams to half-time.
Out of the locker room, the defense was stout through 20 minutes of the second period. As a whole, the defense allowed zero shots on goal until the 25-minute mark.
The Penguins struck again with a perfectly placed through ball by Willison to Rojas and led 2-1, over the Vikings.
With under 15 minutes left, a red card and a series of subs allowed the Cleveland State offense to score two-straight goals.
The red card on Willison impacted the team’s defense as the loss required players to play out of position.
“We all kind of just dropped positions to fill in the gaps but it was just something we weren’t ready for,” Rojas said.
With under five minutes to go, an on-field brawl drew an early conclusion to the game and Youngstown State fell, 3-2.
In the net for the Penguins, junior goalie Xander Conrad let up three goals but had a handful of saves.
Despite the loss, Rojas had a brace as well as a game high in points with four.
Rojas said the team played its best game of the season and was disheartened with the loss.
“Today at least, we played really well for the first 20 minutes of each half and we kind of just fell apart towards the end,” Rojas said.
The soccer club falls to 1-3 overall on the season and rides a three-game losing streak.
The soccer club looks to get back in the win column as it will return to Cafaro Family Field on Oct. 6 against Case Western Reserve.
To keep up with the soccer club, check out its Instagram and Twitter @ysumenssoccer.