By Nathanael Hawthorne
The Youngstown State University women’s soccer team had a lackluster season last year. The team hopes to bounce back, make the Horizon League playoffs and prove their potential to the Youngstown community.
The women’s soccer team went 1-13 last year and tied four games. Their one win was at home.
“[Last season] didn’t go as we were hoping it would go,” senior defender Larsen Murvin said. “We walked away with only one win, which was a little disappointing, but hopefully we can change.”
With a tough season behind them, the team has high hopes for this year. Junior defender Lexi Neal said one aspect that has changed is overall team chemistry.
“We have a lot more communication in a lot of aspects, and it’s making everybody mesh way better than last year’s team,” Neal said.
The Penguins strive to have a different attitude this season and aim to exude positivity in practices and off the field.
“It’s been very positive,” Murvin said. “So far, everyone seems to be really getting along and working well together. I’m really excited to see what happens.”
After last season, the team lost four seniors, but it made up for the loss by recruiting 12 freshmen to play. In the team’s home opener, six out of the 11 starters were freshmen.
“We have a lot of new talent to the team this year,” junior defender Ashley Dibble said. “It’s going to be a good year.”
The Penguins lost three of their first four games, but two were nonconference games.
The team picked up a win in its first home game of the year, a Horizon League conference game against the Purdue University Fort Wayne Mastodons.
Addie Roman and Marcella Sizer found the back of the net for the Penguins in a 2-1 win. Goalkeeper Zeeyana Jivraj allowed one goal in 10 attempts from the Mastodons.
Another change made in the offseason was in how the team practices. Practices are now approached as if they are games, so the Penguins can get a feel for what an actual game will be like.
“In the offseason, we just worked really hard through the spring and worked on training at 100%, so it’s like a game-like situation,” Neal said. “I think that was a big thing for us.”
The Penguins have a short road trip to Marshall University on Friday and the University of Kentucky on Sunday. The team will then play at home against the University of Akron Sept. 6.