By Dylan Lux
After taking care of business at home against Northern Kentucky University, the Youngstown State University women’s soccer team continued its stout Horizon League schedule against Wright State University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
The Penguins’ first matchup in the two-game span had the team travel to Dayton to take on the Raiders of Wright State on Sept. 21.
The game saw five total goals at the final buzzer, but Wright State took home the victory 3-2 over the Penguins.
At the 34-minute mark, sophomore Taylor Berry scored her second goal of the year, tying senior Lianna Van Sice for most points on the team. Her goal came off an assist from sophomore Emma Rigone.
The second Penguin goal in the matchup was a late strike at the 86-minute mark by graduate student Regan LaVigna, her first goal of the season and eighth of her career. Graduate student Abriana Rondin assisted on LaVigna’s goal.
After a hard-fought loss, graduate student Mikayla Mustard said the key to remaining positive is the girls’ confidence in their team.
“Last year, we made it to the [Horizon League] championship for the first time ever, and just that is giving us hope,” Mustard said. “We know we can get there, we know we can compete with all of these teams. We know that we’re one of the best teams in the conference.”
After the contest versus the Raiders, the Penguins moved to 5-4-1 on the season and 1-2 in conference play.
The following game saw the team return home to Farmers National Bank Field to face the IUPUI Jaguars.
The matchup between the goalies was highly anticipated, as both rank in the top seven in the conference in goals saved and goals saved per game.
Both teams saw a gloomy day on the pitch, as it rained on and off throughout the matchup and provided a defense-heavy performance, as the score was tied 0-0 through the first 45 minutes.
Ultimately, the lone goal of the match was scored on an IUPUI penalty kick in the 60-minute-mark of the matchup.
The Penguins didn’t go down without a fight, as the team took 12 shots when the match was done, along with 4 shots on goal.
Head coach Brian Shrum said the offensive strength came from adjustments after the first half.
“In the second half, we addressed it. We moved some players around, put some players in different roles and that helped I think,” Shrum said. “In that first 20 minutes we were really on top of them, it’s unfortunate we didn’t capitalize.”
According to Shrum, the team will take key moments from its game against the Jaguars and looks to utilize them in future matchups.
“We’ll address a couple of moments just because we’ve moved the system around a few times,” Shrum said. “I’ve been happy with our attack … in two games we’ve generated 28 shots. That’s the most scoring opportunities we’ve had, so we’re going to keep building on that.”
As for the game plan for this weekend’s matchup, Shrum keeps it simple.
“Put the ball in the back of the net,” Shrum said.
The Penguins will return to the pitch at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 in Fort Wayne, Indiana to take on Purdue University Fort Wayne.
This game will be aired on ESPN+. For stats, highlights and more, visit ysusports.com.