By John Ostapowicz
The Youngstown State University women’s soccer team traveled to St. Bonaventure, New York to complete its two-game road trip against St. Bonaventure University on Sept. 1. The Penguins were able to snap their four-game losing streak by recording a draw against the Bonnies, 0-0.
In the game, junior Brooklyn Kirkpatrick neutralized the opponents offensive attack by saving the ball eight times. Kirkpatrick recorded five saves and a shutout, making it the third time in her career she has accomplished this feat.
The momentum from the draw carried over into the Penguins home stand at Farmers National Bank Field in the Covelli Sports Complex on Sept. 4. Youngstown State faced off against Bucknell University and nabbed the team’s first win of the season in thrilling fashion, defeating the Bison, 1-0.
The matchup saw senior Regan LaVigna score her first goal and the team’s second of the season. The goal was assisted by senior Haley Curtis by squeezing the pass to LaVigna outside of the penalty box to put Youngstown State on the board.
Curtis transferred from George Washington University. She started six times and recorded two shots on goal along with 580 minutes of play in her Junior season. Head coach Brian Shrum knows that she is an important addition to this team with her transfer.
“We were able to get her to transfer in an area that we needed as we lost a couple of kids who played fullback from the previous year which helped the team,” Shrum said.
Going into the second half, Bucknell outshot Youngstown State 8-0, incapacitating the Penguins offense attack. Youngstown State was able to overcome the obstacle to clinch an impressive win.
The shutout was orchestrated by another great performance by Kirkpatrick as she continues to play at a high level. Over six games, she has recorded 32 saves and two consecutive shutouts.
The women’s soccer team continued its winning ways by taking down its last non-conference opponent in Kent State University 1-0 on Sept. 8. With the win, the Penguins take their second consecutive home game of the season.
These two teams have played each other 14 times with the Golden Flashes leading the series 12-2. The defeat of Kent State marks the first time the team has lost to Youngstown State since 1997.
The game-winning goal came when junior Lianna Van Sice fired a corner kick to the middle of the box allowing senior Lily Welch to squeeze the ball in the net. The goal marked her first of the season and second of her career.
In the net for the Penguins, Kirkpatrick stood tall and earned her third consecutive shutout, becoming the second player in school history to accomplish the feat.
Shurm was thrilled with the team’s execution and how it was able to turn things around in the second half after attempting zero shots.
“We were able to turn this game around in the second half, being able to execute better in the later half of the game,” Shrum said.
The Penguins are now 2-4-1 for the season and seeded 10th in the Horizon League standings. In the coaches pre-poll, the Penguins were slated to finish ninth place in the league.
Youngstown State is back in action Sept. 15 against its first in-conference opponent, Oakland University.
To watch the game check out ESPN+ or ysusports.com for stats, highlights and more.