By John Ostapowicz
On Friday, Feb. 18, the Youngstown State University women’s lacrosse team captured its second consecutive home victory 19-6 over Saint Francis University at the Watson and Tressel Training Site.
The win improved the Penguins to 2-1 on the season as the team saw six different scorers find the back of the net. Freshman attacker Natalie Calandra-Ryan led the team’s effort for a second straight outing.
Calandra-Ryan was the difference maker on offense with five goals scored on eight total shots. She also picked up a pair of ground balls to help aid the Penguins’ victory.
Calandra-Ryan has been a standout player since the start of the season. She leads the team with 13 goals scored and 19 draw controls, as well as second on the team in total points scored with 16.
Because of her efforts against Duquesne University on Monday, Feb. 14 and Saint Francis, she was named Mid-American Conference Lacrosse Offensive Player of The Week. She became the third player in program history to be recognized with the award.
In regard to earning the award, Calandra-Ryan has been working hard on and off the field to be the best she can be when it comes to playing the game effectively.
“I feel completely honored — it’s obviously a very hard accomplishment to earn. Especially with so many players in the MAC league, but being the next Penguin to bring it in feels really good,” she said
Besides Calandra-Ryan, freshman attacker Sydney Bumstead, redshirt-sophomore midfielder Emma Carter, sophomore attacker Erin Clark and sophomore midfielder Lauren Ottensmeyer all found the back of the net twice in the team’s win.
Clark continued her fantastic season by tying her career-high and season-best five assists in a single game. She also nabbed three draw controls and two ground balls.
Sophomore goalie Mikaela Staranko made her season debut in the cage, playing the entire second half. She posted a career-best five saves on eight attempted shots during her 30-minute outing.
On Wednesday, Feb. 23, the team’s conference opener against Central Michigan University was postponed because of poor field conditions. This was based on a combined decision from officials and coaching staff.
This past weekend, the Penguins were back in action as they dropped a 15-10 decision against Niagara University on Sunday, Feb. 27 at Farmers National Bank Field.
Youngstown State was down early in the first period 4-1 until the team turned it around to score 5-of-7 goals attempted in the second period.
Despite the loss, seven different Penguins were able to score in the contest. Erin Clark had another dominant performance as she led the offensive charge with three goals.
Calandra-Ryan was also a bright spot in the game as she was the only other multi-goal scorer with two. At the net for the Penguins, graduate student goalie Savannah Clarke had a dominant performance with 15 saves.
With an upcoming game looming, Calandra-Ryan is preparing to push herself to the limit as she looks to continue her outstanding season.
“Pushing myself against my teammates — especially those one-on-one matches and getting my shots in each time — that helps me become a better player,” Calandra-Ryan said.
The Penguins are set to host the University of Akron today, March 3 at the WATTS in what will be their 2022 MA conference opener.