By John Ostapowicz
The Youngstown State University women’s soccer team took its first steps on the road to the Horizon League playoffs with a win against Robert Morris University, 3-1, Oct. 26. With the win, the Penguins were able to clinch their first Horizon League Tournament spot since 2014.
Sophomore Elis Klien Spindola was the only scorer and recorded the 12th hat trick in program history as well as the first hat trick in the Horizon League this season.
Because of her efforts, she was named Nike Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week, Oct. 31. This marks the first time since 2016 that a Youngstown State player has received the award.
Heading into the quarterfinals, senior Abriana Rondin was named to the Horizon League second-team, Oct. 28. In the regular season, Rondin led the Penguins with 36 shots, two goals and two assists, equaling six points. She is the first player to earn All-Horizon League honors since 2019.
Freshman Taylor Berry was named to the Horizon League All-Freshman Team. For Berry, her stand-out freshman year is accompanied by 26 shots, four goals and one assist for nine points this season. The last player given the honor was Maddie Angelo in 2021.
The ability for Berry to translate her talents from highschool to the collegiate level is credited to the team’s chemistry. On-and-off the field, the team has contributed to her smooth transition to Youngstown State.
“This team does a great job including everyone and I’ve felt that once I came here and it translates on the field,” Berry said.
The women’s soccer team traveled to Alumni Field in Dayton, Ohio to take on fourth-ranked Wright State University in the Horizon League quarterfinals. The first meeting between the two teams ended with the Raiders shutting out the Penguins 2-0.
The Penguins evened the season series by taking down Wright State, 2-1 to clinch a spot in the Horizon League semifinals.
The offense was red hot in both halves, led by Berry, who scored a pair of goals.
In the net for the Penguins, junior Brooklynn Kirkpatrick snatched her eighth win of the year as well as six saves.
The win marks the first time in program history that the Penguins have clinched a spot in the semifinals.
After Sept. 25, the women’s soccer team has turned its season around by going 5-1. The only loss came from Cleveland State University, 2-4, Oct. 16.
Credit for the team’s current form goes to head coach Brian Shrum and assistant coach Josh Green for providing a positive training environment and an overall encouraging team atmosphere.
“Our training environment has been at an all-time high and you need a good training environment to put a product on the field,” Shrum said.
The women’s soccer team was back in action in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Nov. 3 to take on the No.2 ranked Purdue University Fort Wayne for a second time.
For more information on the semifinals, check out horizonleague.org.