After a solid 2-1 start to the season the Slippery Rock University field hockey team suffered back to back losses in the team’s first two road games this week. The Rock’s offense was shut out in both games and was held to only 15 total shots.
Despite the losses, SRU head coach Julie Swiney is not worried about her team.
” Playing the top two teams in the nation allowed us to learn a lot about the improvements that we need to make to be successful moving forward,” Swiney said. “Our offense created some opportunities but couldn’t find the back of the net.”
The team traveled to West Chester University on Saturday for their first road games of the season against the undefeated West Chester Golden Rams.
The Rock offense had been on the rise before this game, averaging over three goals a game through the first three games of the season.
However, West chester’s team features three of the top five point scorers in the entire Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). Junior Marine Kusakvitch is third in the conference with 14 points, sophomore Rachal Toppi is in fourth with 12 points and junior Dayle Paustian is tied with SRU junior forward Megan McKay n fifth place at 10 points.
West Chester completely dominated the stat line, out-shooting the green and white 23-7.
Junior forwards Michelle Couch and McKay tallied two shots each and senior goalie Carlee DuMars was credited with 11 saves in the contest. Senior forward Courtney Bradshaw also had a shot on goal.
Following the tough 3-0 loss to West Chester, the Rock then had to travel to Shippensburg University and play the number two ranked Shippensburg Raiders.
SRU’s offense was once again held scoreless in the contest, and the defense could do little to stop Shippensburg’s attack. The Raiders won 5-0, on the strength of a two goal performance by the second leading PSAC scorer, sophomore Emily Barnard who has six goals and 15 points.
Shippensburg totaled 31 shots to Slippery Rock’s eight. DuMars, once again starting in goal, stopped 13 of the 18 Shippensburg shots on goal and the green and white attack was led by McKay who was able to record five shots, four on goal. Sophomore Kailee Krupski and freshmen Hannah Downing and Sam Geroski all also chipped in one shot each. DuMars currently sits in fourth place in the PSAC with 37 total saves but has allowed 12 goals, the fourth most in the conference.
Swiney said she likes where her team is in terms of growth and development.
“I think we are in a good place as a young developing team and am confident that we will continue to improve as the season progresses,” Swiney said. “I want to see the team play with discipline and confidence for 70 minutes.”
The Rock will look to rebound from these two road losses when they return home to take on the number four ranked East Stroudsburg University on September 19th at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.