The Slippery Rock University field hockey team opened up the 2014 season by defeating American International College and Bellarmine University over the weekend. Both games were played in Springfield, Ma.
The Rock won the first game against American International 2-0, and the second game against Bellarmire 3-2 in overtime.
“It was crucial to win our first two games,” SRU head coach Julie Swiney said. “The wins gave us good experience and confidence before beginning our conference schedule.”
In their opener, SRU junior goalkeeper Carlee DuMars recorded her first career shutout. American International dominated in the first half, out-shooting the Rock 7-1, but were unable to score on DuMars. The game remained scoreless at halftime.
Senior Anna Swearingen opened up the scoring for the Rock, scoring off of a rebound in the 45th minute to give them a 1-0 lead. Senior Kelsey Gustafson scored the second goal of the game for SRU off of a penalty shot to make the score 2-0. The defense took it from there, preserving the lead and the shutout as the Green and White held on for the 2-0 victory.
Junior forward Courtney Bradshaw, sophomore forward Megan McKay and senior forward Allison Shade each recorded two shots apiece for SRU, while DuMars had five saves in the shutout.
“I was so excited to get my first collegiate shutout, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of all my teammates,” DuMars said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to be playing with.”
DuMars’ teammates said that she played well in both matches.
“Carlee did a great job in both matches this weekend,” Swiney said. “She is doing a nice job of controlling the defensive circle and playing with confidence.”
The game against Bellarmire was very even. The Rock took a 2-0 lead before halftime. Shade scored in the 13th minute off of an assist from sophomore forward Michelle Couch. Freshman forward Kailee Krupski extended the SRU lead right before halftime, with an assist from McKay.
The second half was a different story, however. Bellarmine dominated the half by out-shooting the Rock 14-5 while scoring twice to tie the game. With the score tied 2-2, the game went into overtime.
Less than six minutes into overtime, senior midfielder Kaili Simmons scored off of an assist from Shade, giving SRU the 3-2 victory and a 2-0 record on the season.
“It was extremely important for the team to get these first two wins after a strong start to preseason to give us the confidence that we need to drive us through the rest of the season,” Simmons said.
Krupski lead SRU with four shots, while DuMars had 12 saves in the win.
“I think that our first two games were crucial to setting the momentum for our upcoming season. I believe that we will continue to progress toward our goals and come together as a unit in the coming weeks,” DuMars said.
On Wednesday, the Rock returned home to open up conference play against Seton Hill University. SRU improved to 3-0 on the season with a 2-1 victory.
Sophomore midfielder Kylie McCarty scored the first goal of the game in the 25th minute off of an assist from Couch. Seton Hill tied the score early in the second half, deflecting the ball out of mid air past DuMars. Seton Hill was out-shot 25-3 by the Green and White.
The winning goal was scored by Swearingen with less than 11 minutes left in the game.
Three games into the season, the Rock is already halfway to their total number of wins from 2013 (6-12)
The Rock’s next game is a non-conference game at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Limestone College.