By Drew Zuhosky
The Youngstown State University soccer team began Horizon League play on Friday night at home against Northern Kentucky University, the newest member of the conference.
Three unanswered goals within the first 30 minutes of play were all Northern Kentucky needed to beat YSU, 3-1.
With just over two and a half minutes played in the contest, Northern Kentucky sophomore forward Jessica Frey scored on a shot attempt off of the left post for her fourth goal of the year to give the Norse a 1-0 lead.
During the 25:00 minute of action, fellow sophomore forward Macy Hamblin scored from 25 yards away to stretch the lead to 2-0, her third goal this season. Later sophomore defender Morgan Shafer’s scored her first goal of the campaign a few minutes later to increase the Norse lead to 3-0.
YSU (4-5, 0-1) was able to put a last-second goal together to break the shutout. With 26 seconds remaining in the game, YSU sophomore midfielder Kyler Lum scored her first goal as a Penguin to close the margin to 3-1.
Statistically, Lum and freshman forward Allison Green tied for the lead in shots with three each on Friday. Shannon Leghart, Kathy Baquero and Tyesha Kizer registering the rest of YSU’s nine shot attempts.
For the Norse, Frey and Aubrey Muench recorded three shots each, with Shafer accounting for two. Northern Kentucky (5-1, 1-0) made 14 shot attempts in the match. The Norse also took six corner kicks to YSU’s four.
Northern Kentucky starting goalkeeper Brooke Schocker made one save Friday night.
In her fifth start this season, YSU goalkeeper Elizabeth Balgoyen made one save over the course of the match.
YSU goalie Elizabeth Balgoyen recorded one save in her fifth start this season.
YSU head coach Will Lemke offered his thoughts on Friday’s contest afterward.
“We talked all week with our team that we needed to come out and match Northern Kentucky’s energy level and their focus and their fitness, or they’d come way over top of us,” Lemke said. “We were scrambling in the first half and we gave up two soft goals. We were chasing the game the rest of the way.”
Lemke discussed the team’s play in the second half.
“In the second half, it was more of an even game,” he said. “We had some breakdowns but did a better job. We were able to get a little more rhythm and do a little more of what we wanted to do, so it was nice that Kyler was able to get a goal for the hard work that we were able to do in the second half. She’s been knocking on the door all season, so it’s good for her to finally break through.”
Lum talked about her goal in Friday’s match.
“It’s pretty shocking, actually,” Lum said. “The team worked really hard today. The first half was really tough for us, but conference play is a whole new thing so we just need to step up and do better. In the second half, we came together and worked better as a team.”
Lum says she’s motivated to perform better in upcoming games after Friday’s result.
“Now that we’ve had our first look at what conference play is, I think that everyone has to work extra hard, and work better and stronger. We just need to step up our game,” Lum said