The Slippery Rock University field hockey team (4-5) moved into a tie for sixth place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) by splitting a pair of conference games.
SRU defeated fifth ranked East Stroudsburg University (4-4) 2-1 and lost to IUP (3-4) 1-0. They are now 2-3 in conference play.
The Rock opened up the scoring Sunday against ESU in the 17th minute of action as senior midfielder Kelsey Gustafson scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season. Sophomore forward Megan McKay got the assist on the play as the Rock took a 1-0 lead.
That lead held up until the 54th minute of play when East Stoudsburg scored the tying goal.
With the score still tied 1-1, SRU gained possession of the ball with less than a minute left in the game. A foul on East Stroudsburg gave the Green and White a penalty corner as time was winding down. After a shot by junior forward Casey Young was off the mark, Gustafson deflected the ball up in the air, where sophomore forward Michelle Couch was there to put the ball in the back of the net for her first goal of the season as the stadium clock read 0:00.
The celebration was put on hold for about 10 minutes as officials had a lengthy discussion about whether to allow the goal or not. In the end, the goal was allowed and the Rock broke their four-game losing streak.
“At that moment, the whole stadium erupted in cheers and the rest of the team ran out and joined us on the field to celebrate,” Couch said. “The emotions for the whole team were extremely high.”
SRU head coach Julie Swiney said the team played well, and that they aren’t getting ahead of themselves.
“We are focusing on one game at a time, and Sunday is a great example of why you have to play hard for 70 minutes to win,” Swiney said. “I hope that lesson was learned, and that we can continue to play with intensity for every minute of every game moving forward.”
The victory was SRU’s first win over East Stroudsburg since 1998. ESU has owned the Rock in recent years, winning 22 straight and
31 of 32 before Sunday’s upset.
“I think this win gave us a huge mental boost,” Couch said. “This game broke our losing streak and hopefully can give us the energy and right mindset we need to carry forward with us.”
On Wednesday, the Rock hosted the IUP Crimson Hawks. IUP was able to score in the 24th minute of the first half to take a 1-0 lead. That was their only shot on goal of the half.
The Green and White outshot the Hawks 9-4 and had more shots on goal (4-2), but were shutout for the third time this season as IUP held on for the 1-0 victory.
SRU goes on the road for its next contest on Saturday to face number one ranked and undefeated Millersville University (7-0).