Category Archive: YSU Athletics

Aug 29

Youngstown State set to open 2014 football season at Illinois: Game #1 Preview

YSU at IllinoisThe Youngstown State Penguins will take to the road traveling roughly seven hours from Youngstown to Champaign, Illinois to open their 74th season of football against Big Ten member, Illinois.

The Penguins, who are entering their fifth season under the direction of Eric Wolford.  Under Wolford YSU has yet to qualify for the NCAA FCS Playoffs, but have made improvements every season including finishing 8-4 overall last season and 5-3 in the Missouri Valley.

Some feel that Wolford could be on the hot-seat entering this season, but his seat might not be as hot as the man who will be standing across the sideline from him at high-noon on Saturday.

Tim Beckman is entering his third season as head coach for Illinois.  After a solid three years at Toledo, the Berea, Ohio native has had some trouble getting the recent misfortunes of the Illini football program to change going 6-18 in two season, including a horrible 1-15 in Big Ten games.

So that brings us to this contest, with two coaches feeling some heat looking to get their seasons off on the right foot and hoping that the momentum of a week one victory can help propel their teams to winning records and postseason births.


Why Illinois will win:  Despite being a bottom feeder in the Big Ten the past couple years, there is no arguing that Illinois should win any contest they play against a team from the Missouri Valley not named North Dakota State, especially on their home field.

The Illini defense which will more than likely be towards the bottom of the Big Ten in 2014 would probably fear the Penguins more if Kurt Hess was still under center, but gone is the four-year starter and in is junior Dante Nania who has been a backup for much of his YSU career.

Offensively Illinois will have a new starting quarterback this season, but they have a good one in Wes Lunt, a sophomore transfer from Oklahoma State.  In his lone season for the Cowboys Lunt completed 81 of 131 passes for 1,108 yards and six touchdowns while appearing in six games and starting five.

The Illini however won’t have to put the whole game on Lunt’s shoulders as they return junior running back Josh Ferguson who broke out in 2013 with a team-high 779 yards and seven touchdowns.  The Penguins however can not just look for Ferguson bursting through the line with the ball as the Doak Walker Award candidate also caught 50 passes for 532 yards while averaging 112.6 all-purpose yards per game.


Why Youngstown State will win: Not many people gave the Penguins a fighting chance in 2012 when they traveled to Pittsburgh to take on Pitt, a game which saw Youngstown State walk away with a convincing 31-17 season opening victory.

That was two-years ago however and gone are the Penguins two main offensive weapons from the 2012 season.

Though Youngstown State is uncertain about how Nania will fill the big shoes left behind by Hess at quarterback, his job should be easier with sophomore Martin Ruiz in the backfield carrying the load of the carries for the Penguins. Last season saw Ruiz burst onto the scene with 1,094 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.

For Youngstown State to win this game, they are going to need to play some flawless football on both sides of the ball…………It’s a longshot, but anything is possible.  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Worth noting:

-This is the 125th year of Illinois football, so this will the quasquicentennial for Illini football.

– Illinois is 13-0 all-time against FCS teams, with an average margin of victory of over 28 points.

– The last time Illinois took on a team from the Missouri Valley was in 2013 when they defeated Southern Illinois by a score of 42-34.

– The Penguins are 0-6 against Big Ten teams, losing twice to Ohio State, Michigan State, and Penn State.

Jul 14

Youngstown State Basketball adds Flint Journal Player of the Year Cameron Morse

Cameron MorseThe Youngstown State Penguin basketball team recently found out that 6-foot-3 shooting guard Ja’Christian Biles from Oak Park, Michigan would not be joining the Penguins as an incoming freshman for the 2014-15 season leaving the Horizon League program with a scholarship left for this years recruiting class.

Biles, who committed to Youngstown State in November of 2013 will instead be attending Schoolcraft College, a comprehensive community-based college located in Livonia, Michigan.

With Biles a no-go to wear the red and white, Youngstown State has turned to Cameron Morse, a 6-foot-1 guard who was looking for a NCAA Division I program to give him an opportunity after only receiving offers from D.II and NAIA programs.

In Morse who committed to Youngstown State on July 11th, the Penguins are getting a player who knows how to score, averaging 23.8 points per game during his senior season at Carman-Ainsworth High School.

Morse brings more than a nose for the basketball to the Penguins as the incoming freshman also average 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.6 steals per game this past season while earning The Flint Journal’s Player of the Year award as well as earning AP All-State honors and Most Valuable Player for the Saginaw Valley League.

Youngstown State is getting more than just a solid basketball talent, as Morse brings a 3.75 GPA along with him.

May 27

Youngstown State Baseball To Face Indiana At Bloomington Regional

YSU YThe Road To Omaha for 64 college baseball teams was finalized by the NCAA on Monday, with Youngstown State, winner of the Horizon League Championship and seeded No. 4, set to take on the No. 1 seed in the Bloomington Regional, Indiana on Friday, May 30, at 7 p.m. The game will be at the Hoosiers’ Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Indiana and broadcast on ESPN3

Stanford and Indiana State are also participating in the Bloomington Regional. That contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday.

The Penguins (16-36), who also reached the NCAA Regionals in 2004, captured the Horizon League Tournament over Memorial Day weekend after defeating No. 1 seed Wright State twice, the No. 3 seed Valparaiso and the No. 4 seed Milwaukee.

Indiana (42-13) is currently ranked at No. 4 nationwide and won both the Big Ten regular season and Tournament titles this year. The battle-tested Hoosiers were 21-3 in Big Ten play and lost just three games since March 28, each by only one run.

The Indiana State Sycamores (35-16), seeded No. 2 in the regional, won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season crown. The Stanford Cardinal (30-23), occupying No. 3 spot in the bracket, went 16-14 in PAC 12 action.

NCAA Regionals are played in a double-elimination format with the winner advancing to Super Regionals.

Back in 2004, the Penguins went to the Austin Regional and faced the overall No. 1 seed Texas Longhorns, and also faced the TCU Horned Frogs.

Youngstown State Head Coach Steve Gillispie, who is in his second season with the Penguins, went to three NCAA Tournaments as an assistant coach with the Dolphins at Jacksonville State.

Among the players on the 35-man roster are senior outfielder David Saluga from Hermitage, PA; senior infielder Phil Lipari from Poland; senior pitcher Patrick O’Brien from Boardman; senior pitcher Robert Switka from Ursuline; senior outfielder Nick DeNello from Boardman; junior pitcher Brad Smith from Canfield; freshman pitcher Ryan Smith from Hubbard; freshman Anthony Rohan from Ursuline; freshman pitcher Jeremy Quinlan from Brookfield; and freshman pitcher Kevin Yarabinec from Sharpsville, PA.


May 24

Youngstown State wins Horizon League Baseball Tournament; Awaits NCAA Tournament pairings

YSU Horizon LeagueNot many people gave the Youngstown State Penguin baseball team a chance to win their opening game in the Horizon League Tournament on Wednesday, but the Penguins did just that and a little more the past few days at Kapco Park located just outside of Milwaukee.

Youngstown State, who finished the regular season with a lackluster 12-36 record overall and finished last in the Horizon League with a 6-17 record went a perfect 4-0 during tournament play giving the Penguins their first conference title since 2004.

With their come-from-behind 5-4 victory over Wright State on Saturday to win the championship, Youngstown State will now advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in 10 years.

The Penguins found themselves trailing 4-3 heading into the top of the ninth before freshman Alex Larivee ripped a two-out bases loaded RBI single to tie the game at 4-4.  The next batter, Brent Gillespie would get hit by a pitch to give Youngstown State the 5-4 lead which they held on to.

Former Poland Bulldog standout, senior Phil Lipari was named the Horizon League Tournament MVP.

Youngstown State will find out who they will open the 64-team tournament against on Monday at noon when the NCAA holds their selection show to be televised on ESPNU.


May 24

Youngstown State baseball set to play for Horizon League championship on Saturday

YSU Horizon LeagueNot many people gave the Youngstown State Penguin baseball team a chance to win their opening game in the Horizon League Tournament on Wednesday, but the Penguins did just that and now they refuse to lose.

Youngstown State, who finished the regular season with a lackluster 12-36 record overall and finished last in the Horizon League with a 6-17 record in conference play opened up tournament play with a 7-3 victory over third-seeded Valparaiso.

In their victory on Wednesday the Penguins got a tremendous effort on the mound from Jared Wright who tossed four innings only giving up one run on three hits.  Anthony Konders picked up the victory in relief tossing two scoreless and hit-less innings while senior leadoff hitter and former Poland standout Phil Lipari sparked the offense with a three-hit, three RBI performance which included a home run.

Youngstown State stayed hot on Thursday when they stunned the Horizon League’s regular season champion, Wright State.

The Penguins jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on the Raiders after one inning of play, giving Brookfield native and freshman pitcher Jeremy Quinlan all the run support he would need as he would Wright State to one-run on five hits while striking out six in a complete game effort as Youngstown State was victorious, 7-1.

On Friday night the Penguins showed they were more than a two-game illusion as the hammered fourth-seeded Milwaukee 11-5 aided by a huge seven-run second inning which gave Youngstown State the early 8-0 lead.  Pacing the way for the Penguins in the stunning victory over the Panthers was Matt Sullivan as the junior third baseman went three for four at the plate with RBIs and Patrick O’Brien, a senior from Boardman who tossed seven strong innings giving up one-run.

Youngstown State will now wait and see who they will take on next as Milwaukee and Wright State will battle at noon to see who will join the Penguins in the championship game(s).

The Penguins will take on the winner between the Panthers and Raiders on Saturday afternoon at 4:00pm.  If Youngstown State wins that contest they will win the tournament and earn their second trip the NCAA Tournament, and their first trip since 2004.  If the Penguins lose they will play again on Sunday in a winner-take-all contest at noon.





Mar 12

YSU Lady Penguins defeat Oakland to advance to Horizon League Women’s semifinals

YSU YYoungstown — Senior Melissa Thompson’s three-point play with 36 seconds left in regulation broke a 64-64 tie and lifted the Youngstown State women’s basketball team to a 68-64 win over Oakland in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Horizon League Championship on Wednesday evening at the Beeghly Center.

The Penguins forced two missed 3-pointers by Oakland and senior Heidi Schlegel came down with a defensive rebound sealed the victory with a free throw with seven seconds remaining.

Youngstown State improves to 15-15 overall and will play No. 2 seed Wright State on Friday, March 14, in Green Bay, Wis. at 6 p.m. Eastern. Oakland finished the season with an overall record of 13-17.

Schlegel led the Penguins with her 10th double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds. She also dished out five assists. Thompson scored 15 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds.

Senior Liz Hornberger, who tied the YSU all-time 3-pointers made record with 198, added 11 points.

Hornberger hit her career-tying 3-pointer to give the Penguins a 38-31 lead with 17:14 to go. Then Penguins surrendered 16-7 run as the Golden Grizzlies to a 47-45 lead midway through the second half. It marked Oakland’s first lead since 10-9 at the 12:57 mark of the first half.

The Penguins used their own 10-2 run over the next two minutes to regain a 55-49 lead after two free throws by Hornberger, a jumper and two free throws by Latisha Walker and a layup by Schlegel.

Oakland knotted the game at 61-61 after a 3-pointer by Victoria Lipscomb and took a 64-62 lead after a Bethany Watterworth layup.

Schlegel made a pair of free throws with 1:25 left to tie the game and Thompson came down with a defensive rebound off a Lipscomb miss to set up her game-winning shot.

Neither team got off to a crisp starter but the Golden Grizzlies managed to jump out to a 10-7 lead nearly seven minutes into the game. The Golden Grizzlies missed nine of their first 10 shots, while the Penguins committed four turnovers in the first four minutes of the game.

The Penguins used a 9-0 run on a jumper by Flagg, a 3-pointer by Hornberger and two jumpers by Schlegel to take a 16-10 lead midway through the half.

After Oakland cut the deficit to three, 20-17, with 5:31 left, Thompson made two straight layups and another by Schlegel pushed the lead to nine, 26-17, at the 3:16 mark.

Hornberger nailed her second 3-pointer of the half to give the Penguns a 10-point lead and another layup by Thompson pushed the advantage to a first-half high, 12 points, 31-19, with 1:43 left.

Oakland scored the final four points of the half as the Penguins took an 31-23 lead into the lockerroom at the half.

For the half, Youngstown State shot 45.2 percent, but committed eight turnovers. Oakland made just 23.1 percent from the floor before halftime.




Mar 12

Youngstown State Lady Penguins set to host Oakland tonight in Horizon League Women’s Tournament action

YSU YThe third-seeded Youngstown State women’s basketball team will host the sixth-seeded Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in Beeghly Center in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Horizon League Tournament. The game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio and the Horizon League Network.

The Penguins are hosting a quarterfinals contest for the second straight season after finishing 10-6 during league play and 14-15 overall under first-year head coach John Barnes. YSU started the season 1-6 and was 4-9 at the end of the non-conference season, but it won its first six league games en route to its second-best record in its 13 seasons in the league.

YSU clinched the home tournament game by beating Cleveland State 94-81 in the regular-season finale at Beeghly Center on Saturday. The Penguins had their highest scoring game in nine years in the victory, and they had five players score in double figures for the first time this season. Liz Hornberger made six 3-pointers and scored 22 points, and fellow senior Karen Flagg added 19 with six rebounds, five assists and four steals. YSU shot 52.7 percent overall, and it finished 14-of-29 from 3-point range after making 11 treys in the first half.

Heidi Schlegel is a First-Team All-Horizon League honoree as the conference’s second-leading scorer with 20 points per game, and Hornberger led the league during conference play with 3.1 3-pointers per game. Monica Touvelle is the league’s Sixth Player of the Year, and Jenna Hirsch was named to the All-Freshmen Team.

Oakland finished its first season in the Horizon League at 13-16 overall and 8-8 in conference play. Senior forward Bethany Watterworth is a second-team all-conference pick after averaging 18.3 points during league play, and All-Defensive Team honoree Kim Bee leads the conference in blocks. The Penguins and Golden Grizzlies split two games in the regular season with both teams winning at home. YSU won 79-64 on Jan. 25, and Oakland’s 87-67 win came on Feb. 8.

The winner between YSU and Oakland will advance to play in the tournament semifinals on Friday against the winner of the game between Wright State and Milwaukee. Green Bay is the top seed in the tournament and would host the semifinals if it wins its game on Wednesday.


Courtesy of the Youngstown State University Athletic Department

Mar 05

Life after Kendrick Perry; Can Youngstown State rebound from a disappointing 2013-14 season without KP

The Penguins must find a way to replace Kendrick Perry's 22.3 points per game next season.

The Penguins must find a way to replace Kendrick Perry’s 21.3 points per game next season.

Following the 2006-07 season, a season in which Youngstown State finished with a 14-17 record, the future for the Penguins and head coach Jerry Slocum was very much uncertain as the program lost to graduation who at the time was considered one of the greatest to play at the Beeghly Center, Quinn Humprey.

Humphrey was possibly the best ever at YSU since the program joined the ranks of NCAA D.1, finishing with 1,707 points while pulling down 674 rebounds and 253 assists in his career.

Now Jerry Slocum must replace the player who by most accounts is the best player to ever lace up the sneakers for Youngstown State as Kendrick Perry played his last contest for the red and white on Tuesday evening in the Penguins 96-92 heart breaking loss at Oakland in the first-round of the Horizon League tournament.

Perry, who was recently named to the All-Horizon League First Team for the third consecutive season, tied a career-high 35 points in his last collegiate game finishes his YSU career with 1,991 points, 506 rebounds, and 140 assists while shooting the ball .468% from the field and .348% from behind the arc.

With Perry out of the mix next season, how will Slocum replace the  21.3 points per game the 6-0 guard out of Florida averaged this past season?

The answer will likely be a combination of Ryan Weber and Bobby Hain, both of which will be juniors next season.

Weber at times looked to be ready and primed to be an All-Horizon League performer this season before an incident at practice resulted in a broken nose, taking away with some of the momentum and progress the 6-6 forward from Indianapolis had going.  Despite the injury, Weber finished the season strong averaging  12.2 points per contest and appears to be the most viable scoring option for the Penguins next season with his ability to knock down three-pointers and penetrate into the paint.

Like Weber, Hain had moments this season in which the 6-10 forward/center combo from Jupiter, Florida looked to be ready to take his game toHain Weber YSU the next level.  Hain finished this past season averaging 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

With Weber and Hain appearing ready to pick up the load, who will step up for the Penguins next season to compliment the juniors.

DJ Cole will return as the starting point guard as the 5-11 senior to be had done an excellent job handling the ball for YSU the past two seasons.  Cole might not put up head turning offensive numbers but the Kansas native has shown the ability to shoot the ball from behind the arc and get to the rim while averaging 8.3 points and a team-high 4.3 assists per contest this past season.

Youngstown State also will feature a slew of sophomores on their roster, all of which got some playing time this past season.

The biggest question mark on the team heading into next season could be Marcus Keene, and that question is if the 5-11 guard out of San Antonio, Texas will even be with the program next season.

Keene showed promise early this past season scoring 10 points in 20-minutes in his Penguin debut, a 73-57 season opening victory at Kennesaw State.  Keene also had a big game against UMass, scoring 20 points.  Appearing like a starter-in-waiting for the 2014-15 season, Keene’s future with the program reached the point of uncertainty when he reportedly broke the nose of Weber during a heated practice.

The wildcard for the Penguins next season could be senior to be Shawn Amiker who has served as a starter at times during his YSU career.

Amiker, a 6-5 athletic forward from Oak Park, Michigan has shown the ability to get to the rim with ease while averaging 5.6 points per contest this past season.  Amiker’s abilities were put on display when he scored 25 points on 9 of 12 shooting in a 83-81 overtime loss at Detroit earlier this month.

With some talent still remaining in place, the Penguins could possibly turn to their most anticipated recruiting class in recent years to add some much-needed depth and scoring production.

Leading the way for the incoming freshman is Sidney Umade, a 6-7 forward from San Antonio, Texas who was a 3-star ESPN recruit who also held an offer from Murray State.

Joining Umade in the recruiting class is Bryce Nickels and Ja’Christian Biles.

Nickels, a 6-8 center from Tampa, Florida held offers from Georgia Tech, George Mason, and Florida Atlantic before ultimately signing with the Penguins.

Biles comes to YSU from Oak Park, Michigan and keeps that Motor City pipe line rolling into the Mahoning Valley.  Rated as the 12th best player in the state of Michigan as a high school senior the 6-2 guard and is considered to be an under-the-radar type of recruit who can score from perimeter, mid rage, and finish at the rim and really turned some heads  this past July at the Adidas Summer Invitational.

So as much as it will hurt to lose Kendrick Perry, there will always be someone ready to rise to the occasion and become the next great player to grace Dom Rosselli Court. 

Mar 04

Bader leads Oakland past Youngstown State in Horizon League Men’s Tournament action

Travis Bader drilled two free throws with 0.6 left in regulation, then hit another pair with 9 seconds left in overtime to allow No. 6-seeded Oakland to escape No. 7 Youngstown State, 96-92 in a Horizon League tournament opener Tuesday.

Oakland trailed by 10 with three minutes to play in regulation, but scored 10-straight points to pull even at 75 on three free throws by Bader. Youngstown State led by four with eight seconds left, but Bader drilled a 3 to make it 80-79, then fouled Ryan Weber with one second left, who missed the first of two free throws to make it 81-79.

Fletcher Larson fouled Bader on the in-bounds play and Bader forced the extra period.

Bader finished with 39 points and was a school and tournament record 18 of 18 from the line for Oakland (13-19). Dante Williams added 12 points on the bench, while Corey Petros tallied 17 points and nine rebounds for the Grizzlies.

Kendrick Perry scored 35 points and Ryan Weber added 22 to lead Youngstown State (15-17).

Oakland advances to face No. 3 seed Wright State on Friday night in Green Bay, Wis. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.


Courtesy of Oakland University Athletic Department

Mar 01

Youngstown State falls to Oakland; Will go on road to open up Horizon League Men’s Tournament play

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Travis Bader scored 33 points and Corey Petros added 23 with 13 rebounds as Oakland put down Youngstown State 87-81 on Saturday.

Bader scored 23 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc in the second half. Kahlil Felder added a double-double with 12 assists and 10 points.

In a high scoring first half in which both teams shot over 56 percent, Youngstown State (15-16, 6-10) led The Golden Grizzlies 45-43 at the break.

The pace slowed with the start of the second period but Bader’s jumper at 12:51 put Oakland (12-19, 7-9) up 54-53. Bader continued his 3-point assault as Oakland bumped the lead to 10 points with 3 minutes to play and rode it into the buzzer.

YSU’s Kendrick Perry scored 20 points before the break, but was held to 10 in the second half. The Grizzlies held the Penguins to 20-percent shooting from long range (1-for-5) after a 58.3 performance (7-for-12) in the first half.

The Golden Grizzlies finish in a tie for fifth place in the final Horizon League standings in their first season in the league. OU will be the No. 6 seed and will host No. 7 seed YSU on Tuesday night at the Athletics Center O’rena.


Courtesy of the Oakland University athletic department

Older posts «