By Kyle Wills
The Youngstown State University women’s soccer team had a split decision this past weekend following a nil-nil draw against the University of Illinois Chicago on Saturday afternoon at home.
The Penguins were outshot by UIC, 17-10, and junior Marcella Sizer led YSU with three shots while sophomores Justine Appolonia and Elise Bush each had two shots.
The Penguins move to 1-7-4 overall and 1-1-3 in the Horizon League while the UIC Flames are now 0-8-3 overall and 0-3-2 in league play.
Despite struggling to win in overtime this season, Sizer said tying these games is better than losing.
“Going into overtime and tying a lot, we still have been getting that one point. We always want to get points during games,” she said. “We’re still getting a point — we’re not getting zero points for not losing — and that is helping us get to where we are today in the rankings.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Brooklynn Kirkpatrick said it’s upsetting to not come out on top, but is grateful the team is still getting points.
“It’s definitely a little disappointing to not pull out some of the wins, but [it’s] definitely not a bad thing,” Kirkpatrick said. “Last year, a lot of the teams we’ve tied, we lost to. It’s definitely a good thing that we’re trying and we’re still getting points. I think everyone feels that way and it’s helping us stay motivated.”
In overtime, up to two 10-minute overtime periods are played. The first team to score will win the game, but if no goal is scored by the end of both overtime periods then the two teams will be awarded with a tie.
In the 0-0 tie against the Flames, Kirkpatrick recorded her first career shutout.
She was credited with nine saves and faced 17 total shots from UIC. Four of her saves came in the overtime periods. This performance garnered her Nike Horizon League Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week.
Kirkpatrick was ecstatic about the recognition, but said her first career shutout was a team effort.
“I’m so excited. That was definitely one of my goals for the season. [I’m] also super proud of the team because there were a lot of big defensive plays in the UIC game, so it was definitely a team shutout,” she said. “Me winning that award is putting that on the whole back line, so I’m really proud of everyone in the backline for the shutout the other day.
This is the first player-of-the-week award of Kirkpatrick’s career and the first YSU award since senior goalkeeper Zeeyana Jivraj earned the accolade during the spring 2021 season.
This week the team will travel to take on the University of Wisconsin Green Bay Oct. 7 and will travel back home to host Northern Kentucky University on Oct. 10. Sizer says improving on transitioning down field will be a key factor.
“We’ve been working on sustaining the ball in our half, scoring goals just in general. Transitioning from defense, playing through the midfield, and getting it up top,” Sizer said.