By Dylan Lux
After a two-game losing stretch, the Youngstown State University women’s soccer team returned to the win column on the road against Purdue University Fort Wayne.
The team entered the weekend with a 5-5-1 overall record and a 1-3 conference record before its Sept. 30 matchup in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Mastodons entered the game undefeated in conference play, at 2-0-2.
The game also saw two highly ranked goalies, graduate student Samantha Castaneda of Purdue Fort Wayne and YSU senior Brooklynn Kirkpatrick, who are first and second respectively in total saves this season.
In the first half of play, the Penguins saw an early strike from graduate student Regan LaVigna, as she scored unassisted in the 10th minute of the contest.
LaVigna said the Penguins’ early lead established the team’s confidence for the remainder of the matchup.
“It was awesome … putting the goal on the board early definitely gave us confidence throughout the whole game, setting the standard extremely high right off the bat,” LaVigna said.
LaVigna’s score gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the matchup against Purdue Fort Wayne, which is how the last three games between the Penguins and the Mastodons ended.
At the 31-minute mark, Morgan Reitano, graduate student forward for the Mastodons, found the equalizer as she netted her fifth goal of the season from a header.
Early in the second half, the Penguins capitalized on another scoring opportunity.
In the 54th minute, junior Elis Klein Spindola found the back of the net off a cross from her teammate, sophomore Chloe Weiland, to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
The team’s lead would remain for the rest of the contest, giving YSU their second victory in conference play.
The Penguins took 12 total shots and had six shots on goal. Kirkpatrick had seven saves in the contest.
Head coach Brian Shrum credited the good shot opportunities the team was getting to weekly practice.
“[We’re] working at it every day in practice … there’s kids staying after to work on their technique and executing things,” Shrum said. “Just keep getting better every day, that’s what it is.”
With the roadwin, YSU moved to 2-3 in the Horizon League and 6-5-1 overall. The team’s conference record moves to seventh.
Shrum said the win was vital for the team to stay in the competition for the Horizon League Championship.
“It keeps us in the race … we needed three points to stay in it, and there’s a lot of teams right in the middle,” Shrum said. “Every game is important, and every game there’s three points on the line.”
The Penguins’ next contest takes them to Cleveland State University at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 in Cleveland.
Shrum said road trips are a challenge for the team — one the team is always ready to face.
“The uncomfortability of being on the road,” Shrum said. “You gotta go away, you sit on a bus … people don’t realize how much travel affects players’ legs and fatigue levels.”
The Vikings currently sit in tenth in the Horizon League with a 0-3-2 record.
After their matchup with Cleveland State, the Penguins will face Oakland University at 1 p.m. Oct. 8 at Farmers National Bank Field.