Latrobe soccer player Ava Yurko chooses Youngstown State

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 | 6:34 PM

Add another Division I college soccer commit to the list at Latrobe.

On the same day she was named to the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association All-State list, junior defender Ava Yurko announced Tuesday a verbal commitment to Youngstown State, bringing the Latrobe girls’ total of D-I commits in the last two years to six.

Yurko, who fought back from a torn ACL, LCL and meniscus in her right knee she suffered last year to rejoin Latrobe’s team this season, was recruited as a center back.

The pillar on the back line, she scored six goals for skilled Latrobe, which went 13-3 and reached the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals.

Youngstown State represented much more to Yurko than soccer.

“Some big factors for me were academics, culture and the environment of the campus,” Yurko said. “YSU checked every box for me.”

Yurko plans to study biology in the honors college.

“The players couldn’t have been more welcoming,” she said. “And the campus is exactly what I am looking for. Coaches Brian Shrum, Josh Green and Anita Maryskova are building Youngstown State into a very competitive program that I think will be competing for conference championships for years to come. They have a great team culture that I cannot wait to be a part of.”

Latrobe’s other D-I players who suited up in orange and black in recent seasons include graduate Sofia DeCerb (James Madison), current seniors Regan Reilly (Bowling Green) and Ella Bulava (Maryland) and juniors Maddy Petruzzi (Valparaiso) and Robin Reilly (West Virginia).

Yurko said she was in contact with several schools since the summer, including Old Dominion, St. Bonaventure, Lock Haven, Marshall, Indiana State, Tiffin, VCU, George Mason and Georgia State.

Youngstown State has a pipeline to the WPIAL.

Current players on the roster include grad student Regan LaVigna (Peters Township), senior Justine Appolonia (Yough), freshman Grace Nellas (Mt. Lebanon), sophomore Chloe Weiland (Butler), sophomore defender Emma Rigone (Norwin), freshman forward Sara Felder (Greensburg Central Catholic), redshirt freshman Tatum Gretz (Greensburg Central Catholic), senior defender Megan Park (Seneca Valley) and sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Lloyd (Penn-Trafford).

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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