The Slippery Rock University field hockey (9-8) team failed in its bid to clinch a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoff spot last Saturday against Mercyhurst University.
Mercyhurst defeated SRU 2-1 in overtime in their home finale.
SRU entered the game in fifth place in the PSAC, just a half game ahead of sixth place Mercyhurst, in a battle of playoff hopefuls. The Rock is still in playoff position despite the loss, though.
Neither team could mount much offense early on as the temperature dropped below freezing and snow fell for most of the game. Both teams only attempted one shot apiece in the opening half, as the teams played to a 0-0 tie at halftime. The Rock opened up the scoring when sophomore midfielder Kylie McCarty scored her second goal of the season off of a pass from redshirt junior defender Baylee Childress at the 47:52 mark of the game. This gave SRU a 1-0 advantage as Childress recorded her first assist of the season.
The score remained 1-0 until late in the second half, when Mercyhurst tied the score with 7:03 remaining in regulation on a deflected pass that went past junior goalie Carlee DuMars. The game would stay tied as the teams prepared to play their second overtime game against each other this season. Mercyhurst defeated The Rock 4-3 in double overtime in the teams’ first meeting.
This was SRU’s sixth overtime game of the season. They had won four of the first five. This overtime period was a back and forth struggle between the teams, with both having scoring opportunities early on in the period. Both goalies made saves to keep the game tied.
Just as it looked as though the teams might be playing their second double overtime game of the season, Mercyhurst senior midfielder Kelley Hynes scored off of a rebound to give the visiting Mercyhurst Lakers the 2-1 win.
McCarty led SRU in shots with three, while DuMars made three saves in the loss. Childress also chipped in with one defensive save for the Rock.
Earlier in the week, SRU senior defender Kelsey Gustafson and senior midfielder Kaili Simmons were selected to play in the 2014 Victory Sports Tours and National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division II Senior Game, which will be held Dec. 5 at the University of Louisville as part of the National Championship weekend events.
“The seniors are an integral part of Rock hockey over the last four years and the success this season,” SRU head coach Julie Swiney said, referring to Gustafson, Simmons, and the other seniors on the squad. “Having so many upperclassmen on the field makes a big difference.”
SRU will conclude the regular season, and try to clinch the final PSAC playoff spot, with a road contest on Saturday against West Chester University. If they qualify for the playoffs, their first playoff game will be Tuesday.