The Slippery Rock women’s lacrosse team welcomed Bloomsburg University on Saturday afternoon for a PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) showdown at Mihalik-Thompson stadium. A second half surge allowed The Rock to coast to a comfortable 18-10 victory over the Huskies for a fifth consecutive victory.
A special game for The Rock for several reasons: Senior Day for the Rock’s six seniors, head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne’s grudge match against her alma mater whom The Rock had only beaten twice since 1989 and the setting of a new school record. Overall, the day could not have gone much better.
Before the opening face-off, the six Rock seniors, goalkeeper Emily Bitka, attacker Bre Vodde, defender Raelyn Waite, midfielder Tia Torchia, attacker Ally Culhane and midfielder Jasey Sanders were honored in a special ceremony.
In a game where the Rock never trailed, Vodde pounced early with two quick goals as The Rock raced ahead to a 3-0 lead before three minutes had been played. The Huskies and The Rock traded goals back and forth before heading into the locker rooms at the half locked in a 7-7 stalemate.
Coming out after halftime, The Rock and Huskies each had mini runs to bring the game to a 9-9 draw before The Rock really exploded to take control of the game. Nine consecutive goals from seven Rock players had The Rock doubled up on the Huskies at 18-9. The Huskies scored a late goal to draw within eight goals but the effort much too little, much too late. The 18-10 victory, which held massive playoff implications, gave The Rock a pivotal victory over a tough conference team in a time in which every game means so much.
Torchia, in addition to scoring a hat trick which brought her career goal total to 98, broke a school record set by Casey Quinn in 2012. Torchia’s four forced turnovers brought her career total to 93, eclipsing Quinn’s 92 still with four regular season games left on the slate.
Bitka’s campaign to earn All-PSAC keeps gaining steam after her seventh double digit save game of the season, her fifth in the last six games. Bitka currently leads the PSAC in save percentage, ranks second in total saves and ranks third in saves per games and goals against average.
Sophomore midfielder ShyAnne Toomer led The Rock with four goals bringing her season total to 23. Vodde and Torchia each chipped in with hat tricks bringing their season totals to 25 and 30, respectively. Sophomore midfielder Tori Penders and freshman attacker Francesca Lindelow each tallied a pair of goals to bring their season totals to 13 and 10, respectively. Sanders, junior midfielder Kelly Muenster, freshman midfielder Jordan Grey and freshman midfielder Aubrey Napp each contributed a goal.
Junior midfielder Erin Brown dished out two assists to lead The Rock while Toomer, Muenster and junior defender Danie Porath each chipped in with an assist.
The Rock held the advantage in shots with 40 (32 on goal) compared to the Huskies’ 26 (24 on goal). Both the Rock and the Huskies received stellar goaltending with each keeper recording 14 saves.
The Huskies turned the ball over 32 times which was six more than The Rock. The Huskies only completed half of their clearance attempts at 15 for 30 while The Rock completed more than 65% of their attempts at 17 for 26.
The Rock recorded 33 groundballs, led by Bitka’s eight, compared to the Huskies’ 31 groundballs. The Rock attempted eight free position shots compared to the Huskies’ five attempts.
With the victory, The Rock moves to 10-3 (.769) with a 6-3 (.667) PSAC record. The loss drops the Huskies to 9-4 (.692) with a 5-3 (.625) PSAC record.
The Rock will have no time to rest with arguably the most important game of the season to date coming against Mercyhurst University this Tuesday, April 17th at Mihalik-Thompson stadium. The third place Lakers hold a half game advantage over The Rock in PSAC play coming into the game, making the match-up crucial to each team for playoff seeding.