With only eight returning upperclassmen on the Slippery Rock University women’s soccer roster, this season will rely highly on the skill of the 19 underclassmen.
Several of those underclassmen contributed largely to the regular season opening victory over Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rival California University of Pa. on Thursday by a final score of 2 -1.
Freshman Dara Demich netted the initial goal in the 37th minute of the first half to put the Rock up 1–0 off of an assist by freshman Andrea Felix.
Cal-U brought the score to an even 1-1 in the 27th minute of the second half off the foot of Haley Henderson.
Less than six minutes later, Felix received the ball from freshman Sam Thornton and buried it in the back of the net, putting Slippery Rock at a 2-1 advantage.
The score would remain the same until the final whistle.
Coming from Cincinnati, Ohio, Felix traveled a long way to score her first NCAA Division II goal in her first game.
“I felt a whole lot of things,” Felix exclaimed when asked how she felt after scoring the game winning goal. “That goal was what I have worked up to my whole soccer career. I can’t wait to score some more.”
The Green and White now holds a three game winning streak against the Cal-U Vulcans with two coming from last season.
The first win came in the PSAC championship game by a score of 3–0 and the second win came in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs by a score of 1–0.
Felix and Demich have now contributed to a streak that they weren’t even here to start.
“The biggest difference from last year is the experience factor. We are depending on a lot of young players to contribute,” Coach Noreen Herlihy said while comparing last year’s team to this squad. “It was a big game to have five freshman on the field. Lauren Impey was a rock for us in the back field and (Andrea) Felix made a great impact off the bench as well for us.”
The Rock won’t face Cal- U again this season unless they meet in the PSAC playoffs, so the chance at a four game-winning streak will have to wait.
The women’s team will take the field on Tuesday looking to get their second PSAC victory of the season against the Golden Eagles of Clarion University.
The game will be held at James Egli Field here at Slippery Rock University, kickoff will be around 7pm.