Rock field hockey winning streak ends at five

Published by adviser, Author: Doug Gilghrist - Rocket Contributor, Date: October 31, 2014
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The Slippery Rock University field hockey team tied their record for the longest winning streak in their history since 1987  by defeating Indiana University of Pennsylvania Saturday.

The Rock won the game 1-0 in overtime.

SRU took a four game winning streak into its road contest with IUP on Saturday. Both teams had numerous scoring chances, but neither could put one past the other team’s goalie as the game remained tied 0-0 through the end of regulation.

Less than five minutes into the overtime period, SRU sophomore forward Michelle Couch gained control of the ball at midfield and raced down the left side past all of the IUP defenders. The IUP goalie came out of the net to try to stop Couch, but to no avail as she flicked the ball into the net to give the Rock the 1-0 overtime victory. It was Couch’s third goal of the season.

“Michelle has been a consistent contributor to our team,” SRU head coach Julie Swiney said. “Her speed and versatility are valuable to the team and help her to be a dangerous player.”

The win was the Green and White’s fifth straight, which tied a school record for longest winning streak in their history. The win also put the Rock back in the national rankings, as they came in ranked No. 10 in the latest poll.

Rock junior goalie Carlee DuMars made three saves in the victory as she recorded her third shutout of the season. Junior forward Casey Young led the team in shots with three.

Next they travelled to Shippensburg on Tuesday to try and extend their winning streak to six games.

Shippensburg took an early lead by scoring a goal at the 13:46 mark of the first half to make the score 1-0. That lead would hold up until halftime.

The second half would be more of the same. SRU could not solve the Shippensburg defense, as they were shutout for the fifth time this season. Shippensburg would add two more goals in the second half to make the final margin of vicory 3-0.

DuMars had five saves in the loss, while junior defender Lauren Shideler and senior defender Kelsey Gustafson chipped in with one defensive save apiece.

Sophomore forward Megan McKay led the offense with two shots, as the Rock was out-shot 20-4 for the game. Shippensburg also shut them out in penalty corners 11-0.

Despite the loss, SRU remains in fifth place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. With two games remaining on their schedule, the Rock holds a 1.5 game lead over Kutztown University for the final playoff spot. One more win for SRU (or one more loss by Kutztown) and they will clinch a playoff spot.

Even with the loss to Shippensburg, Swiney likes the way her team is playing.

“Our loss to Shippensburg was not our best effort,” Swiney said. “Otherwise, the team is playing well and continuing to improve and make positive changes.”

The Rock will try and clinch that playoff berth at home on Saturday at 6 p.m., when they take on Mercyhurst University. Mercyhurst defeated SRU 4-3 in double overtime earlier in the season.

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