Rock lacrosse downs Gannon, eyes playoff berth

Published by , Author: Jake Bartus - Rocket Contributor, Date: April 19, 2017
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On the heels of their upset win over Lock Haven over the weekend, the Slippery Rock women’s lacrosse team returned to Mihalik-Thompson Stadium on Tuesday afternoon to battle Gannon University. Slippery Rock won the game 13-9 for the team’s eleventh win of the season.

Rock head coach Emily Hopkins is pleased with the 11 wins, “We had some up and down years over the last couple. We have been just been out of conference playoffs, and we keep telling them that every game matters. We do not want to rely on everyone else to get in.”

Slippery Rock was able to avenge the defeat from Gannon a year ago, led by hat tricks from redshirt sophomore Tia Torchia, junior Bre Vodde, and senior Caitlynn Palladino. Torchia scored the first and second Rock goals before Gannon would score their first.

In the 2-1 game, Vodde netted her first of the game and 23rd of the season, and then senior Chynna Chan scored her 14th of the season. Gannon then went on to score the next three goals of the first half to tie the score at four.

Hopkins called a timeout to regroup, and Slippery Rock answered with two goals right before the half. Torchia netted her third of the game and 27th of the season and Vodde scored her second of the game with an assist to senior Brittany Brewer less than a minute before the half to take a 6-4 lead into half time.

Gannon scored the first goal of the second half, but then Slippery Rock answered with five goals in a row to take an 11-5 lead.  Torchia scored her fourth of the game to start the run. Also scoring in the 5-0 run were Palladino, Vodde with an assist to freshman ShyAnne Toomer, and the two more goals from Palladino with another assist for Toomer. Palladino now has 27 goals on the year after the three-goal performance.

The balanced attack has been lethal for Slippery Rock this season.

“The balance attack has been important all season,” Hopkins said. “It’s kind of tough to focus in on one player.”

After Gannon scored to end the Slippery Rock run, Torchia scored her fifth goal of the game and team-leading 29th of the season to put Slippery Rock in front 12-6. Sophomore Erin Brown would score the final goal for Slippery Rock. The goal was Brown’s fourth of the season. Gannon would add three goals late to make the final score 13-9 in favor of The Rock.

Junior Emily Bitka picked up win number 11 in the cage and had four saves in the win before departing the game for freshman Tori Greco. for the last four minutes and 23 seconds of the game.

This was the last regular season home game for the team’s seniors, and Hopkins had plenty to say about her seniors.

“The seniors have been huge for the program’s success,” Hopkins said. “They played a lot of minutes over the last four years, and they have always been a class that has strived to push and get better every year.”

Slippery Rock finished the home portion of the schedule with an impressive 6-1 mark on home turf. Slippery Rock returns to the field April 22 for a conference match-up at Millersville University where they will look to get win number 12 overall and move to 7-3 in conference play.

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