Penguins Host Akron on Friday, Visit St. Francis (Pa.) on Sunday

Regan LaVigna (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Regan LaVigna (Photo by Rob Hayes)

The Youngstown State women's soccer team returns home on Friday, September 6 when they host Akron at 7 p.m. from Farmers National Bank Field in the Covelli Sports Complex. On Sunday, the Penguins head east to the state of Pennsylvania for a match against the St. Francis Red Flash at 2 p.m. from the Stokes Soccerplex.

Live stats will be available for both matches through YSUsports.com and Friday's match against Akron will be streamed on ESPN3. Sunday's game against St. Francis (Pa.) will be shown on necfrontrow.com

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Friday: Team Poster Giveaway

Looking At The Opponents
Akron: The Zips enter Friday's match with 1-3 record after splitting a pair of games last week. Akron picked up their first win of the season in a 2-1 defeat of Niagara on August 29. Senior defender Ashley Amato is the leading point scorer for the Zips after netting two goals over the last two matches. The Zips have split time between their two freshman goal keepers in Vanessa Berlin and Libby Harper. Akron is under the direction of fifth-year head coach Noreen Herlihy. 

Friday's game will be the eighth meeting all-time between YSU and Akron in a series that dates back to 2001. The Zips own the advantage in the series with a record of 6-0-1, which includes a 6-0 victory over the Penguins just a season ago.

St. Francis (Pa.): The Red Flash own a record of 1-1-1 but that will change prior to Sunday's match as they play Niagara on Thursday at home. St. Francis got in the win column on Friday, August 30 when they took down Air Force by a score of 3-2 on an overtime goal from Rhiallie Jessell.

Redshirt junior midfielder Mariana Jaleca has led the offensive attack for the Red Flash with a pair of goals while Julia Hernan figures to get the nod in goal after starting all three games. Over the summer, Ellie Davis was introduced as the 10th head coach in program history.

Sunday's match will be the first time since 2010 that YSU squares of with St. Francis. The Red Flash, who defeated the Penguins that last time the teams meet, owns the advantage in the all-time series with a record of 7-2-2. YSU's last victory came in 2010 when they defeated St. Franics by a score of 1-0 in Loretto.

Last Time Out
The Penguins dropped a pair of games last weekend both by a score of 3-0. On Friday, YSU fell to Marshall after a 40-minute weather delay in the 81st minute. Kate McEachern finished the game with five saves while the Penguins offense recorded five shots. On Sunday at Kentucky, McEachern was stellar in goal once again recording 10 saves as Regan LaVigna provided the only two shots of the afternoon for YSU. 

Sizer's Quick Start
Freshman Marcella Sizer picked up right where she left off and thats with scoring goals. Sizer, who scored 114 goals during her high school career, netted her first two collegiate goals during the opening weekend of games. She scored the game-winning goal in a victory against Fort Wayne (8/23) before adding another on penalty kick against St. Bonaventure on August 25. After the two weeks of games, Sizer is tied for second in the Horizon League for goals scored (2). 

Youth Movement
With only seven upperclassman on the roster, Head Coach Brian Shrum has turned to his talented group of freshman to play significant minutes over the first four matches. To open the season against Purdue Fort Wayne, the starting lineup featured six freshman while two others received playing time. Against St. Bonaventure, Shrum gave the starting nod to seven freshman while three more saw action over the course of the match. This past weekend, six frosh started against Marshall while only five started against Kentucky. 

McEachern, Jivraj Split Time In Net
Junior Kate McEachern and sophomore Zeeyana Jivraj have each been given the opportunity to start for the Penguins during the first four games of the season. Jivraj made starts in the first two contests for the Penguins where she tallied 13 saves total, including a nine save performance in a winning effort against Purdue Fort Wayne. Jivraj ranks eighth among all goal keepers in the Horizon League with her 13 saves.

McEachern recorded 15 saves over the course of last weekend's matches, including a ten saves showing against Kentucky which included a number of spectacular saves to keep the Penguins in the match. McEachern ranks fifth in the Horizon League with saves and has the most saves per game at 7.50. 

The Lone Senior
Larsen Murvin enters the 2019 season as the only senior on the Penguin's roster. She'll look to provide that "senior leadership" as the Penguins feature 22 underclassmen on their roster. For her career, Murvin has seen action in 39 games while also making 18 starts. She's record three assists during her time at YSU, with two coming during her freshman year and one last season as a junior. To begin her senior campaign, Murvin has seen significant playing time making all four starts at the defender position. 

Up Next
The Penguins return to the pitch on Friday, September 13 when they host Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. as part of our Mercy Health Cancer Awareness Game. On Sunday, the Guins travel to Duquense to battle the Dukes at 3 p.m. from the Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field.

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