By Madeline Hippeard
With a strong start to its season, the Youngstown State University women’s soccer team defeated Saint Francis University, University of Akron and Duquesne University, but had its three-game win streak cut short by Canisius University.
The Penguins started out their season on the road against Saint Francis on Aug. 17. Junior Elis Klein Spindola scored the first goal of the game, which gave the Penguins the lead.
The Red Flash managed to tie the game as the second half began. However, senior Abby Knight scored 10 minutes later, breaking the tie and putting the Penguins back in the lead for the remainder of the match.
Sophomore Chloe Weiland also scored her first career goal for YSU late in the second half of the game. The Penguins defeated the Red Flash with a score of 3-1.
With the offense scoring more efficiently, graduate student Mikalya Mustard credits the offseason to the Penguin’s first home opener win since 2019.
“In the offseason, we get a workout packet which is a bunch of different sprint variations, conditioning stuff, lifting — along with ball stuff everyone does in the summer that carries off of our spring season,” Mustard said.
The Penguins prepared to face the Akron Zips on Aug. 20. The Zips won the last five of 11 meetings between the two teams.
After transferring to Youngstown State from the University of Pittsburgh, junior Maddie Keister scored her first career goal for the Penguins early in the first period.
In the midst of a defensively heavy game, senior goalkeeper Brooklynn Kirkpatrick kept the Zips from scoring with four saves, earning her first shutout of the season and leading the Penguins to a 1-0 victory.
After defeating Akron, the Penguins traveled to Pittsburgh to play the Duquesne Dukes. With only 37 seconds left in the game, Weiland scored, breaking a 1-1 tie that had lasted the second half of the game. Weiland’s goal brought the Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Dukes. Sophomore Taylor Berry also scored late in the first half.
With the victory against Duquesne, Kirkpatrick tied for YSU’s 13-win record.
For the first time since 2021, the Penguins began their season with a 3-0 record.
Head coach Brian Shrum said the Penguins are prepared well for their games because of some of the most important players on the team.
“If we did not have training sessions of a good caliber, we wouldn’t be able to prepare for the team we’re going to play,” Shrum said.
Finally, the Penguins returned home to Farmers National Bank Field to host Canisius on Aug. 27. Despite starting strong, the Penguins ultimately failed to keep the Golden Griffins from scoring with eight minutes left in the second half.
The Penguins had three shots on goal, however none made it past the Griffin’s goalkeeper. Unable to score themselves, the Penguins lost their first game of the season 0-1, cutting the historic run short on the fourth game of the year.
The Penguins will play again Aug. 31 at 3 p.m. when they travel to Washington, D.C. to take on George Washington University.
To find more information on the game and to watch it live, visit YSUsports.com and ESPN+.