The Slippery Rock University women’s lacrosse team took No. 8 Mercyhurst University to overtime, but could not pull off a win Wednesday night at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium. The Rock scored two goals in the final five minutes of regulation to tie the game, but it was Mercyhurst scoring with 3:35 to play in overtime to seal the 10-9 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) victory.
Slippery Rock was leading for most of the game and held a 7-4 advantage with 15:29 to play, but could not maintain the lead. This loss was the third one-goal defeat to a nationally ranked PSAC team this season and puts the Rock at 8-7 overall and 4-6 in conference play. The victory for Mercyhurst puts them at 14-2 overall and 10-1 in conference play this season.
Slippery Rock head coach Emily Hopkins said that this was a frustrating loss, as she thought the team played well despite taking the loss.
“I was proud of the team because we had really worked on the gameplan and making sure we took the shots we were looking for,” Hopkins said. “I thought they did really well with not forcing things. I think we had a season low in turnovers. So I was really proud of them but frustrated because I really thought we had a chance to win.”
The Rock dominated possession for the opening period and posted a 17-8 advantage in shots to lead 4-2 at halftime.
Mercyhurst keeper Gabby Gravino made seven saves in the half to keep her team close.
Mercyhurst’s Kristin Anderson was tough to handle for The Rock as she posted an 11-2 edge in draw controls in the final 30 minutes of regulation, while also scoring three second half goals to lead the comeback.
Slippery Rock played a relatively clean second half with just six turnovers opposed to Mercyhurst’s 12 turnovers, including two late in the game which The Rock capitalized on. Sophomore Tia Torchia scored with 4:59 left in the game to make it 9-8 after a failed clear attempt by the Lakers. Junior Chynna Chan then tied the game at 9-9 with 2:39 remaining.
The Rock won the opening draw in overtime but could not get any shots off before turning the ball over to Mercyhurst’s Carly Zimmerman, who found the back of the net for the 38th time this season to seal the victory.
Slippery Rock finished the game with advantages of 28-24 in shots and 20-17 in ground balls.
The Rock were 15-of-17 on clear attempts and finished with 11 turnovers. Mercyhurst posted a 14-7 edge in draw controls, was 13-of-18 on clear attempts and finished with 18 turnovers.
Senior Erin Wilcox paced Slippery Rock with four goals to mark her 10th game this season with at least a hat trick.
She has scored multiple goals in 14-of-15 games and is the only player to record a goal in all 15 games this season.
Chan’s game-tying goal pushed her current goal-scoring streak to 10 games. Torchia finished with two goals and a team-high three draw controls. Junior Jasey Sanders and senior Kaytlin Callaghan each added one goal to cap the scored for SRU. Callaghan’s goal brings her to 123 career goals and ties her with senior Paige Costantino for the fifth most in program history, 11 shy of Wilcox’s 134 in fourth place.
Senior goalie Jordan Wagner finished the game with nine saves, including five in the second half for The Rock.
Hopkins thought the play of Wilcox and Wagner really put the team in a position to win the game.
“I think (Wilcox) played great last night. She had four of our nine goals and she’s played tremendously all season long. She’s a strong player with a lot of confidence so when she’s shooting she’s going to be scoring,” Hopkins said. “I think (Wagner) played phenomenally. She did a great job in goal and she was huge on ground balls and causing turnovers.”
Slippery Rock’s only chance to make the playoffs now is to win its final two games and hope Gannon beats Millersville on Saturday.
The Rock will be back in action on Saturday when Shippensburg visits Mihalik-Thompson Stadium for a 1 p.m. Senior Day game, in which seven SRU seniors will be honored before the game.