The Youngtown State University women’s soccer team opened Horizon League play against Wright State University with a 1-1 overtime tie on Wednesday night. The tie brings YSU to 4-4-2 on the season.
Wright State struck first with a goal by Natalie Sedlock, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead with 32:53 left in the first half. The goal was Sedlock’s second of the season.
YSU struggled to get anything going offensively until freshman Abby Kenski was able to tie the game up at 1-1, after scoring her second goal of the season with 23:54 left to play in the second half. The goal was assisted by Chelsey Haney.
“I immediately jumped right in Chelsey’s arms. I was so excited, it was pretty awesome,” Kenski said.
Penguins head coach Will Lemke was also very proud of how his team was able to turn the game around in the second half after struggling in the first.
“We tried to retch up the pressure all across the field,” Lemke said. “We weren’t competing in the middle of the field very well, just allowing them to find the passes that they wanted when they were giving us pressure.”
Although the Penguins were unable to pull out the win in overtime, Lemke believes there is a lot his team can take away from the game.
“To get the tie against the best coach team in the league we can take something away,” Lemke said. “While it wasn’t our day and we didn’t play well, I was really proud of the character of our team that we showed. We had to get some new players out there to provide a spark and yet we hung in there and found the equalizer based just on character and stamina. That is something that is the most important lesson we took away from today.”
While the team was happy with their second-half performance, the Penguins must continue to improve if they are to accomplish their goals this season.
“We just got to keep working hard. Obviously it’s not easy,” Kenski said. “This was definitely a tough game — we’re going to have to keep practicing really hard to get better.”
YSU is 15-1-2 all-time against the Raiders, with the Penguins’ only victory coming in a 2-1 overtime win in 2012.
The tie kicks off a three-game home stretch against conference opponents. The Penguins take on University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 1 p.m., and close out the stretch Saturday, Oct. 4 against Oakland University. Lemke said this stretch of Horizon League games is key to his team’s success this season.
“Every year it gets more and more compressed, where if the top doesn’t come down, then the bottom comes way up,” Lemke said. “Every game’s going to be just an absolute slugfest. The conference has really stepped it up and everyone’s got to be ready to play in every game.”