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YSU Penguin Athletics / Tennis
« on: May 02, 2023, 07:47:49 PM »
YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown State women’s tennis program has quietly cultivated a Horizon League dynasty over the past decade.

In 10 seasons under head coach Mickael Sopel, the Penguins have dominated the conference. From 2014-2018, YSU won the Horizon League crown, qualifying for the NCAA tournament, five times in a row, and then again scaled the top of the conference once more last season.

On Sunday, YSU added its seventh Horizon League championship, going back-to-back and surviving an epic 3.5-hour marathon match in a 4-3 victory over rival Cleveland State in the conference tournament final at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“It’s always a very special thing to achieve and win, doing so back-to-back makes it a little sweeter because it’s hard to do,” Sopel said. “We know how hard it is to go back to the tournament and win it again. We saw how hard it was (Sunday) in that final match. It’s very special to have a group that’s able to do that again. It shows how resilient they are and shows a lot about what it means to them.”

It was the ninth time that YSU has reached the tournament final in the 10 years it has been contested.

Sopel credits YSU’s prolonged run of success to the culture that the players and the coaching staff have fostered within the program.

“A culture of the way we compete, the way the girls train everyday, how serious they are about their tennis and everything they do on a daily basis,” Sopel said. “This is a team that sticks together, that fights together and that goes out there and finds ways to win matches. With all the culture we’ve built and all the types of players that have come through this program, they know how much the Horizon League means to them and they put in all the work and always have that in their minds to go out there and win that title.”

What’s unique about this year’s title, is that the Penguins also won the Horizon League regular season championship in addition, something that they haven’t done since 2015, with Sopel calling it “a really big achievement for this program.”

Being the top seed after going undefeated in conference play during the regular season, YSU earned a bye for the quarterfinals. After the Penguins swept past No. 5 seed Milwaukee 5-0 in the semifinal, YSU was set for the championship against the second-seeded Vikings.

YSU started things off by clinching the doubles point, winning at the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles positions.

Singles, however, were a gauntlet.

Sophomore Elisa Rigazio made quick work of her opponent, winning in straight sets (6-1, 6-2) at the No. 1 spot. But then Cleveland State picked up its first point of the match, as sophomore Lili Minich fell at No. 2 (4-6, 0-6).

Each of the final four singles matches went the distance, all going three sets. After sophomore Julia Marko came back from a set down to win at No. 5 (6-7, 6-1, 6-1) and the Penguins lost at the No. 3 and No. 6 spots, it all came down to fifth-year senior Cecilia Rosas at the No. 4 spot with the match tied 3-3.

“Everyone talks about being the clincher, but you never know until you’re there,” Rosas said. “So when everything came down to me, first, I didn’t want to mess it up for me or for my team. So I was like, this is up to me — all the pieces of the puzzle are together, but to complete the puzzle, you must be the last piece.”

Rosas took the first set in a tiebreak, but dropped the second set 6-2. In the deciding set, Rosas held a 6-5 lead with her opponent, Sima Heren to serve.

During that final game, Heren dealt with cramping issues and Rosas said she saw an opening to break serve and clinch the match. On her third match point, Rosas returned Heren’s serve and as Heren’s crosscourt forehand drifted wide, Rosas’ Penguin teammates stormed the court and mobbed her on the baseline in celebration.

“We had planned a whole drop the racket celebration, but honestly, (in the moment) I didn’t think of it,” Rosas said. “I just thought, it’s finally over and I just raised my hands — just happiness as the girls ran over to me.”

“It was such a hard match,” she added. “I was already tight and nervous. But at the end, I just came through. Everything is so loud and so quiet (during the match), and everything is so fast and so slow. You just hope to make the best of it and that it will work out.”

As she stood anxiously watching her teammate, Minich had the rare perspective to understand what Rosas was going through, since she ended up being the clinching match in last year’s championship against Milwaukee.

“I was so scared and anxious,” Minich said. “I could totally relate to her. But it was a completely different perspective for me, seeing her clinching, instead of being the one on court. Hopefully next year or the next two years, we’ll be able to accomplish something similar. It’s always special (to win.)”

The title clinched the Horizon League’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. During a selection show watch party Monday night at the Beeghly Center, the Penguins learned of their fate.

YSU will head back to Ann Arbor on Friday, where it will face No. 5 seed Michigan at 2 p.m. in the first round of the tournament. The YSU-Michigan winner will face the winner of the Notre Dame-Ball State matchup in the second round.

“We know that Michigan is a very, very good team,” Minich said. “We saw them play last year during regionals, so we know their girls are very good. I’m excited to be going back (to Ann Arbor) because it’s kind of like our second home. We have a lot of good memories there from (winning the conference title) last year and from this year. So I’m super excited to go back and hopefully we have a great match.”

YSU Penguin Athletics / Possible rule change
« on: April 21, 2023, 08:52:18 PM »
NCAA Set To Approve Major Change To First Down Rule And Many Fans Aren’t Thrilled
Story by Connor Toole • 7h ago

There have historically been a number of different rules that differentiate college football from the NFL.

That includes regulations governing a catch (college players only need to keep one foot in bounds as opposed to two) and those concerning when a play is whistled dead (NFL players can continue advancing if they fall to the turf without any contact, which isn’t the case in college).

There’s also a very notable difference when it comes to how the clock operates, as NFL teams have to be a bit more cognizant of time management compared to the college squads that can take advantage of the clock temporarily stopping in the wake of a first down.

Earlier this year, the NCAA announced it was taking a second look at that particular policy in an attempt to shorten the average length of games by floating a rule that would eliminate the first down clock stoppage that’s been in effect since 1968.

According to CBS Sports, the governing body’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel is poised to officially approve that proposed measure at the DI and DII levels ahead of the upcoming season, although it will reportedly still be in effect in the last two minutes of both halves

An NCAA representative said the new rule will likely reduce the number of plays in an average game by seven, but based on the initial reactions, there are plenty of college football fans who aren’t thrilled to hear about the impending change

YSU Penguin Athletics / Bowling
« on: March 30, 2023, 08:32:43 AM »
Congrats ladies!

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown State women’s bowling team received an at-large bid to the 2023 NCAA Women’s Bowling Tournament.

YSU is an unseeded team and will open tournament play against Marysville.

“The last two months, we’ve been doing some of our best bowling,” says head coach Doug Kuberski. “The results haven’t been there, but the scores have been great, just, some tough matches. So to get some really big wins this past week — get that experience in some tough best-of-seven matches — was pretty huge. I think we’ve got some good momentum going into next week.”

Vanderbilt and Carthage are the other two teams in the regional.

Youngstown State finished fourth in the Southland Conference tournament over the weekend and is one of six teams from the conference to reach the NCAA Tournament.

“I feel like we can make it all the way to Vegas and win the whole thing,” freshman Hope Bunk says. “It was awesome to be able to hear that because as a freshman, to be able to just new experiences with the team.”

The Penguins are in the Lansing Regional which is hosted by Royal Scot Golf & Bowl in Lansing, Michigan on April 7-8.

YSU Penguin Athletics / Wolf man raise
« on: March 13, 2023, 06:38:23 PM »
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (WKBN) – The Board of Trustees at the University of Alabama approved the contracts of several football coaches Monday afternoon, including former Youngstown State University head coach Eric Wolford.

The Crimson Tide’s offensive line coach received a contract extension through 2025 worth $925,000 per season, according to Nick Kelly from

Wolford joined the staff at Alabama in 2022. He served as the head football coach at YSU from 2010 to 2014. Over that five-year span, Wolford was 31-26 with the Penguins.

YSU Penguin Athletics / Son of Pete Maravich, ‘Sick to My Stomach’
« on: March 08, 2023, 09:27:23 PM »
Jaeson Maravich, Son of Pete Maravich, ‘Sick to My Stomach’ Over How His Father’s Record Could be Broken

Jaeson Maravich isn’t a social media guy. The son of Pete Maravich posted to Facebook for the first time last week in order to get something off his chest. Last Thursday, Pete Maravich’s 53-year-old college basketball scoring mark appeared to be safe after Detroit Mercy’s fifth-year guard Antoine Davis fell three points shy of tying it in a season-ending loss. Detroit Mercy finished 14-19 and had no shot of qualifying for the NCAA tourney or the NIT.

Enter the College Basketball Invitational. The CBI is a little-known 16-team tournament that is made up of NCAA leftovers. Teams must pay $27,500 to enter, but they must be invited. With no requirement stating a team must be above .500, Detroit Mercy could get an invite because Davis could break Maravich’s record on the CBI’s watch and provide it with the publicity it desperately needs. The younger Maravich recently took to Facebook, stating he was “sick to my stomach” that his father’s long-standing record could be bought.

Pete Maravich set his NCAA mark in three years

Anyone who knows college basketball knows Antoine Davis is no Pete Maravich. That is no knock on Davis. It just shows how dominant “Pistol Pete” was.

It took Maravich 83 games to collect his 3,667 points, an NCAA Division I men’s basketball record he set in 1970. Davis needed a fifth season, one granted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 144 games to rack up 3,664 points. Not to mention, Maravich never had the benefit of a three-point line. There was also no shot clock, which would allow opposing teams to milk the clock, giving Maravich fewer possessions.

The CBI could give Davis a 145th game. An invitation to Detroit Mercy would be good for the CBI for about 10 minutes. Fans would likely tune in to see a 53-year-old record unjustly fall. Maravich would become No. 2 and Davis No. 1 on paper only. Paying for a record to be broken in a low-level tournament would be doing college basketball a disservice.

“It would be setting a bad precedent,” Jaeson Maravich told Sportscasting on Wednesday. “What about the eight teams that finished ahead of them in their conference? They don’t get an invite?

“I don’t understand how the NCAA even counts these stats. How does this count when my dad’s freshman stats don’t count?”

Jaeson Maravich has been asked about this all week. In every interview, he has never put down Davis. And why should he? It’s not Davis’ fault he was given a fifth year.

“I haven’t ripped the kid at all,” he said. “I’m happy he’s had a good run.”

Playing a 145th game, however, would be a disgrace. At 14-19, you shouldn’t be invited to any tournament. It’s greed on the part of the CBI, and it’s selfishness on Detroit Mercy’s part if it accepts.

YSU Penguin Athletics / Congrats Lily
« on: February 14, 2023, 09:11:32 AM »
Youngstown State's Lily Ritz is the Horizon League Player of the Week.

She averaged 28.5 points - seven more than any other HLWBB player - and 10.5 rebounds to carry the Penguins to a pair of victories last week.

She led the conference in scoring, steals and blocks last week, and she also ranked third in rebounding and seventh in field-goal percentage. In Thursday's win over Oakland, Ritz scored 31 points while going 15-for-21 from the field. The 31 points and the 15 field goals are the most by any player in a Horizon League game this season, and they were the highest totals by a Penguin since 2015. Ritz also grabbed nine rebounds against the Golden Grizzlies, and her five steals and three blocks in the contest were highs in the circuit last week.

On Saturday against Detroit Mercy, Ritz recorded her 14th double-double of the season with 26 points and 12 rebounds while adding three steals, three assists and a block. She made eight of her final 10 attempts from the field to help the Penguins hold off the Titans.

YSU Penguin Athletics / DAlesio
« on: February 09, 2023, 10:22:56 AM »
Cardinal Mooney and YSU product Donald D’Alesio ascends coaching ranks, helps lead Chiefs into Super Bowl - nice article in the Vindy.

As I recall he was not always a fan favorite on this board, but he seems to be doing ok for himself.

YSU Penguin Athletics / Big win for the women
« on: January 20, 2023, 10:04:24 PM »
Nice win for the women in Green Bay 63-60. Game was tight the whole way. Lilly was hampered a lot of the game with fouls.

YSU Penguin Athletics / New FB recruit
« on: January 20, 2023, 08:06:39 PM »
Lowellville senior Vinny Ballone will continue his academic and athletic career at Youngstown State University.

The Rocket’s quarterback made the announcement on social media Friday.

Ballone passed for 3,360 yards this past season, rushed for 453 yards and accounted for 58 total touchdowns while leading Lowellville to 11 wins and a berth in the Division VII playoffs.

He will graduate as the school’s all-time leading passer with 8,689 career yards and 124 career touchdowns. Ballone broke six school records during his high school career and was twice named a member of the WKBN Big 22.

YSU Penguin Athletics / Title game
« on: January 04, 2023, 10:05:41 AM »
I guess that I really am not surprised to see that the title game will be played this Sunday at 2:00 Est, really!

No doubt the decision to watch a pro game or a game between two lower-level college schools will be easy for 99.99 percent of football fans!

YSU Penguin Athletics / other crowds
« on: December 10, 2022, 12:34:53 PM »
Watching a bit of the SDSU Holy Cross game may be less folks there then at our last game.

YSU Penguin Athletics / YSU PSU
« on: November 15, 2022, 08:44:06 PM »
Women are giving PSU a good game.

YSU Penguin Athletics / SDU week
« on: October 26, 2022, 03:32:45 PM »
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Momentum is on the side of the Youngstown State football team right now. The Penguins are coming off back-to-back wins and have a chance to make it three straight in conference play for the first time in five years.

“There’s definitely a momentum rolling now that we’ve won two straight,” says Penguins junior quarterback Mitch Davidson. “Just looking back to the last game, it’s a win, we got out alive, but there’s a lot to learn from.”

“We have confidence and we know that we can win,” says Penguins senior safety Caleb Burr. “But at the same time, you got to know that this is the next game, and whatever we’ve done in the past that doesn’t matter anymore. We got to focus on this next game.”

“You got to be able to put that game to bed,” added Phillips. “You got to learn from it. Win or lose. Is it better learning from a win? Without question.”

YSU Penguin Athletics / WIU week
« on: October 19, 2022, 06:57:06 AM »
What do we know about this 0-6 team?

YSU Penguin Athletics / Still bugs me
« on: September 11, 2022, 07:47:18 AM »
Old subject that has been beaten to death but still bugs me.

So many of our old peers, have moved up and done so well. We all know the long list.

Yesterday Appy beats Texas A&M, Marshall beats the Irish and we beat Dayton!

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