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Oct. 24, 2013

Women's soccer lose to YSU, beat UW-Green Bay

By John Cuturic

It was a cold night at Krenzler Field last Wednesday as the Cleveland State University Women's soccer team fell 0-1 to the Youngstown State University Penguins.

The Vikings had plenty of chances in the first half of the game, but never managed to find the net. The Penguins’ goalie blocked a big shot with 30 minutes to go in the first half, and then blocked the Vikings' follow-up. The crowd made the sound that you've all heard before -- the sports shorthand for 'almost' -- and applauded the Vikings' effort.

The Vikings played hard to get all the shots that they had. But the defenses from both teams were on fire that game. In the second half, the Penguins ran more players up the field and started crowding the ball.

The Penguins had the Vikings on the defensive. Cleveland State goalkeeper Sarah Wood made a spectacular save with 34 minutes remaining in the second half -- a Penguins player who had beaten the defenders made a shot on goal. Wood jumped to bat the ball up and over the crossbar.

As of Oct. 17, Wood was tied for ninth in the country in total number of saves made, with 97.

But Youngstown State just needed one goal. After Wood's save, their players crowded the goal box for a corner kick, and after a scramble, they managed to drive the ball in.

While the Vikings got more chances in the second half with some corner kicks and attacks on the goal that put the crowd on the edge of their seats, we never got any further than 'almost.'

The loss to Youngstown State made the team 7-7-1 on the season -- a flat .500. But the more important number was their conference standings. The loss to Youngstown made the team 1-3 there.

Women's soccer head coach Derrek Falor said that his team had more success earlier in the season in possession play -- they would take their opportunities and score off-of-corner kicks and set pieces. Falor said that now we've started to give up goals to other teams on corners and set pieces.

"It's like the pendulum has shifted," Falor said.

He said that the game with Youngstown State was close.

"Horizon League games are always tight," he said. "It can come down to one player moving six inches or so to the right or left."

Falor said that Cleveland State had historically done well against the University of Wisconsin Green Bay team, their other Horizon League opponent of the week. He said that to win, his team had to manage an 11-hour bus trip down, and start training to play on a grass surface.

Even with the bus trip and playing on the grass, the Vikings won against Green Bay 1-0 last weekend. Wood made seven saves that night, bringing her season total up to 104. Junior forward Amanda Sivic scored her fifth goal of the season with eight minutes to go in the game, lifting Cleveland State over Green Bay.

After this win, the team has a 2-3 record in the Horizon League and an 8-7-1 record overall.

Coach Falor said that it would probably take nine Horizon League points to make it into the championship field -- at least three wins. After beating Green Bay, Cleveland State has picked up two so far.

The team has two more games in their season to pick up the critical third win. They'll look to take it at their home game with the Oakland University Grizzlies this Saturday, Oct. 27.

"Our goal is to get into the championships," Falor said, "then see what we can do based on who we're playing."