Vikings Cruise Past Cougars to Win Second Straight

Vikings Cruise Past Cougars to Win Second Straight

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Seniors Dani Sowinski and McKenna Vento both factored into multiple goals as the Cleveland State University women's soccer team eased its way past visiting Chicago State, 3-1, on a warm and hazy Sunday afternoon at Krenzler Field.

With a second win in under 48 hours, the Vikings have won each of their first two matches for just the third time in program history and the first since 2013.

Vento had a goal and an assist while Sowinski added a pair of helpers, notching the first multi-assist outing of her career, after she registered the game-winning assist Friday night.

Sophomore Jenna Prathapa, the reigning Horizon League Freshman of the Year, and junior Elaina Walnoha both scored for CSU, which posted a dominating 27-6 advantage in shots for the match.

Head coach Dallas Boyer made three changes to the starting XI against a Cougar team that tied Youngstown State Friday night. Sophomore Jordan Hindmarsh and freshman Ja'Maya Ward each collected her first career start while Prathapa was also inserted into a starting role.

Playing for the second time in three days, Boyer frequently tinkered with his lineup, as all 10 field players were substituted for at some point in the opening half.

The Vikings would dominate the first half, and it didn't take them long to get on the board. Sowinski beat a defender to the end line on the right flank and played a cross in front of the goal. The ball found its way to the back post where Prathapa blasted it home to put the hosts on top.

After a brief lull, Cleveland State really began pressuring Chicago State, as the Vikings tallied 15 shots in the final 24 minutes of the opening half.

Freshman Aubrey Bechter nearly opened her collegiate account in the 33rd minute as her header bounced off the post.

The sustained pressure was rewarded in the 42nd minute. After a corner kick by Vento was partially cleared back out to the right flank, the senior sent in a second ball that Walnoha headed home toward the near post.

Sophomore Grace Grant almost made it a trio of goals in the opening half when her shot in the 43rd minute hit the crossbar after the goalkeeper got a piece of it.

Cleveland State removed all doubt in the 75th minute when Sowinski played a bouncing cross from the right flank. The keeper rushed out in attempt to claim it, but Vento beat her to the ball and flicked it into the side netting at the far post for her first goal of the season.

The Cougars would break the shutout bid with under five minutes to play, tallying a goal off a rebound of an initial shot, but it proved to be no more than a consolation.

Sophomore Stevie Holbrook kept a clean sheet for over 65 minutes before turning over to sophomore Kendra Clarke, who made three saves while making her collegiate debut.

Cleveland State had an 11-4 edge in shots on goal and an 8-2 cushion on corner kicks.

Twenty four Vikings saw action in the match as no Viking field player was in for more than 63 total minutes. Clarke was one of five Vikings to make her collegiate debut Sunday, joining freshmen Megan Bine, Daniella Delfino, Meredith Hansen and Helena Novatsidis.

Sophomore Abby Major and senior Seyla Perez, who both transferred to CSU this past offseason, made their first appearances in a Viking uniform Sunday.

Prathapa and Vento remain tied for the goals lead among active Vikings (7). Vento's assist was the 11th of her career, moving her into a tie for second all-time at CSU. She is now tied for seventh in all-time points (25) while Sowinski is tied for seventh in all-time assists (8).

Cleveland State will resume action with its road opener Thursday, Aug. 23, at Niagara.