by brandon lerch
The Cleveland State women’s soccer team is looking to make a big impact in the horizon league, while coming off a 2017 campaign that finished with a (9-9-1) record and a respectable (5-4) record against the conference. The Cleveland State Vikings have been picked to finish fifth in the conference according to a poll voted on by Horizon League head coaches.
This year’s Vikings team brings a great deal of experience, with having nine seniors on the roster. The Vikings also return eight starters and 17 letter winners from last year’s team.
The team will have leading goal scorer and point scorer from last year’s team in sophomore Jenna Prathapa, the Horizon League freshman of the year. Prathapa scored 6 goals and recorded 15 points in her freshman campaign. Senior Dani Sowinski will also be returning. Sowinski had 5 goals and 2 assists last season.
Prathapa and Sowinski look to be leading the attack for the 2018 Vikings, and the team will be led by second year head coach Dallas Boyer.
The Vikings have started off the 2018 season by going (2-2) in their first four games, with wins over Howard University by a score of 2-1 and a convincing 3-1 win over Chicago State. The Vikings next game is Friday Aug. 31, where they will travel south to the Courtyard by Marriot UNCW soccer invitational.
The Vikings will be playing against Farleigh Dickinson university out of North Carolina in the first game of the invitational. They will then take on the host, University of North Carolina Wilmington, on Sept. 2 in the final game of the invitation.
The Vikings will then play two games in three days before conference play begins. The Vikings will get a home game against Ohio University at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 and then travel to take on Canisius College for a day game Sept. 9.
The first conference game for the Vikings will come against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) on Sept. 14 at Krenzler field with the match set to begin at 7 p.m. This match will have revenge written all over it for the Vikings, as IUPUI knocked the Vikings out of the conference tournament on penalty kicks, just a year ago.
The Horizon League conference tournament runs from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3.
The Vikings have scored five goals in their first four games and average 16 shots per game on a 78 percent accuracy rate.
The Vikings offense has been attacking in waves with each goal being scored by a different player. Sarah Krause, Ja’Maya Ward, Jenna Prathapa, McKenna Vento and Elaina Walnoha have all recorded a goal this year so far.
The experience on this roster has shown up on the field with all five goals scored being assisted by a teammate. The defense has been controlled by two sophomore goaltenders in Stevie Holbrook and Kendra Clarke. The goaltenders have a combined 8 saves and a save rate of 67 percent.
The Vikings have a lot to look forward to for this upcoming season.