The Rock defense and goaltending were solid, leading SRU to a 1-0 victory over Mercyhurst in the PSAC semifinals Friday.
Goaltender Steven Rerick played out of his mind, making eight saves with some of those being diving stops. The Rock defense played well, helping fend off 23 shots from Mercyhurst.
SRU’s only goal came off the foot of freshman midfielder George Oakley on a free kick from 30 yards out. Other Rock shots came from Matt Sangermano, Mike Pcholinsky and Jacob Thiel. Oakley put the dagger in Mercyhurst’s season at the 50:48 mark.
Despite being outshot 23-6, The Rock got the big goal when it counted. Head coach Andy Hoggarth has talked about not worrying about the other team and just sticking to what SRU does best, and on Friday that was defense.
SRU continues to excel in the playoffs, advancing to the PSAC championship game for the third time in the last four years.
Advancing to the championship brings up a showdown with the 21st ranked team in the nation in Millersville Sunday at 1 p.m.
Millersville has won their last three games against the Rock, including a 2-1 victory earlier this season.
The Rock will have a tough time scoring goals against Millersville goalkeeper Kohl Omer, who leads the PSAC in shutouts with 10, and his goals against average sits at 0.65.
The Rock will hope Matt Sangermano finds a way to score again. Sangermano has a team-leading nine goals.
This game will have huge implications for SRU’s chances of getting into the NCAA tournament. The top four teams get into the tournament, and Slippery Rock is currently slotted at sixth. A win against Millersville, who is ranked ahead of them, would go a long way towards SRU sneaking into the tournament.