WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP, NJ — Every year when high school athletes from around the country make the college commitments official, it is a momentous occasion, for not only the players and their families but also for the programs in which they are set to become a part of.
That sentiment rang true for Kingsway Regional girls soccer player Marissa Masano. Masano made her commitment to Youngstown State official back in November after a stellar senior season for the Dragons.
The forward was outstanding for Kingsway in the fall, leading the Dragons to a 12-6-2 record as well as a trip to the Group 4 South Jersey semifinal game in the annual state tournament. The captain of the Dragons for this season was also a first team Tri-County All-Conference selection in addition to being selected to the soccer Youth All-American series. To say the least, Youngstown State head coach Brian Shrum is excited to get Masano to campus.
“Marissa Masano is an attacking player with the ability to play on either side of a front three,” Shrum said in a team press release announcing the program’s 2022 recruiting class. “Marissa is comfortable with both feet which gives her the ability to provide services from either wide channel. She possesses the speed and acceleration abilities to beat defenders 1v1. Marissa will be asked to strengthen our attack and increase scoring opportunities.”
Masano’s flexibility in the attacking third will undoubtingly give the Penguins a much-needed boost to a side that lacked production throughout the 2021 season. Youngstown State struggled mightily in the Horizon League, going just 2-5-4 in conference play and 2-11-5 overall.
Of paramount importance for Masano and her future teammates would be finding a way to put more balls in the back of the net.
The Penguins scored just 10 goals in 18 games last year, while not tallying any in their last seven conference games. Those 10 goals were equal to the team’s mark last year in the pandemic-shortened season when the Penguins played just nine games. Scoring goals has been a historic problem for the Youngstown State program, scoring just 12 goals in 18 contests in 2019 and a mere seven goals in 2018.
Scoring goals was Masano’s specialty at Kingsway Regional, especially in her senior year. The forward scored 13 goals, highlighted by a hat trick in her high school career’s penultimate game, while assisting another four during the 2021 season for the South Jersey team.
The fact that Masano surpassed the total number of goals scored by the entire Youngstown State roster should allow the incoming freshman to make an immediate impact for the Penguins in the fall of 2022.
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