Women’s soccer: Road to playoffs

By John Ostapowicz 

With the season nearing its end for the Youngstown State University women’s soccer team, the fight for a spot in the Horizon League playoffs continues. 

The Penguins took the pitch at Farmers National Bank Field in the Covelli Sports Complex, Oct. 13 against a formidable opponent, Purdue University Fort Wayne, defeating the Mastodons, 1-0. 

For the second time in a row for the Penguins offense, senior Abriana Rondin scored a goal. Freshman Taylor Berry set up the game-winning goal by feeding the ball to her at the bottom-left corner of the box. 

For the Penguins, Berry has impacted the team by adding a goal and assist to her young collegiate career.

“It all started from the back line, we’ve been able to break lines and it’s something that we’ve been working on in practice, being able to go forward as much as we can,” Berry said. 

In the net, junior Brooklyn Kirkpatrick led the defensive effort by recording her sixth shutout of the season, setting the school record in single-season shutouts which was previously set in 2008 by Mariah Snyder. Kirkpatrick also tallied four saves while facing 12 total shots attempted by the Mastodons. 

The win marks the first time in program history the team has won three conference games.

Youngstown State looked to continue its four-game unbeaten streak by traveling to Cleveland, Ohio, Oct. 16 to take on Cleveland State University. The women’s soccer team tried to rally a late second half comeback, but fell short 4-2. 

The offense could not find its rhythm until the second half with a corner kick attempt from senior Mikayla Mustard, making it her first career goal. The goal found the back of the Vikings’ net at the 51:36 mark to trim the lead down 3-1.

The goals did not stop there, as senior Regan LaVigna trimmed down the deficit after an assist from senior Haley Curtis cutting the lead down, 3-2. 

With the goal by LaVigna it made her the leader in points with six and tied for first in goals along with sophomore Elise Klien Spindola and Rondin. 

The Vikings put the pressure on Youngstown State’s defense which has been the statement piece of this Penguins team.

With the loss, the Penguins fall to 5-7-3 overall and 3-3-2 in Horizon League play. 

With the Horizon League playoffs around the corner the Penguins are seeded seventh, needing a loss from sixth ranked University of Detroit Mercy, as well as winning the next two to secure the teams first playoff appearance. 

The end of the season is on the horizon for the women’s soccer team as head coach Brian Shrum tries to rally his squad to stay ahead of Cleveland State, who is ranked eighth. 

“It’s a tight race right now within the top six. At any moment someone can lose and get a point and every game is meaningful,” Shrum said. 

The women’s soccer team is back in action to take on Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis on Oct. 22 at Farmers National Bank Field for senior day at 1 p.m.