By Nick Hawks
The Cleveland State University women’s soccer team has yet to find their footing on the 2019 season, with a record of 3-6-3 through 12 games. A big problem for the Vikings has been protecting their house. At Krenzler Field last season, they went an astonishing 8-1 en route to an overall record of 11-7-1, finishing as conference runner-ups. They fell short of the conference title by one goal.
This season, their home record is a much different story, as through six games they have just one victory at Krenzler Field, a 2-1 victory over the University of Akron way back on Aug. 25. After tying against Oakland University on Oct. 6 at Krenzler Field, Cleveland State will have just one more chance to earn a victory in front of their home fans for the season, as four of their final five games will take place on the road.
In that Oct. 6 tie, things were looking bleak once again for the Vikings, as they trailed 2-0 more than 70 minutes into the game. However, a pair of freshmen would provide a spark.
Freshman Rylee Bussen picked an opportune time to score her first career goal, bringing the Vikings’ deficit to within a goal. However, things were still looking pretty dim, as the Vikings found themselves four minutes away from losing their third consecutive game.
That was when freshman Grace Krosky stepped up. Krosky, having witnessed her teammate Bussen scored her first goal just 15 minutes earlier, decided she wanted to get in on the fun and also scored her first career goal in the 87th minute to tie the game for Cleveland State. The Vikings came away with a tie, but considering how close they were to defeat, it wasn’t the worst of outcomes.
Over the past five games prior to the tie with Oakland, the team had only recorded a 1-3-1 record. The lone win was a 3-0 victory over the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. Those goals were scored by freshman McKenna Donahue and junior Grace Grant.
The three goals scored in that game were the only goals scored in that stretch, outside of a goal from junior Elena Gutlove in a 5-1 loss to the University of Milwaukee. The team was held goalless against the University of Niagara, Canisius University and Youngstown State University. In those three games, the only result that the Vikings were able to post was a tie against Niagara.
After finding success against schools from the Mid-American Conference early in the season, including wins against Akron and Miami University, the team has been outscored 15 to three. One may start to wonder if the three straight double overtime games at the beginning of the season is finally catching up with the Vikings. The double overtime tie against Oakland was the fifth of the season for Cleveland State.
Looking through the numbers, it’s no wonder why the Vikings have not been able to replicate their 2018 season that nearly saw them capture the conference championship. In 2018, their shots per game were 12.7, compared to 10.1 this season. Their shot percentage went from 12.4 in 2018 to 8.3 this year. Most notably, their goals per game are down almost 50% from last season, where they averaged 1.58 goals per game. This season, that number sits at just .83 goals per game.
The Vikings have five games left on their schedule, so they could still theoretically finish the year with less losses than they had last year. They have been victimized by three ties on the year, already triple the number that they had last year. Offensively, they have struggled to pull away when they’ve had a chance.
The Vikings will get another chance to add a much needed win to their record on Saturday, Oct. 12, when they travel to Northern Kentucky University to face the Norse.