Home at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium on Tuesday afternoon and riding a five-game win streak, the SRU women’s lacrosse team welcomed #22 Mercyhurst University for a critical PSAC matchup. In frigid weather unseasonable for spring, The Rock fell short in its effort against the Lakers despite a milestone day for redshirt junior midfielder Tia Torchia.
Mercyhurst’s season leader in goals, senior Kristin Anderson, opened the scoring almost halfway into the initial period, only to see her team’s 1-0 lead chiseled into 16 seconds later. The leading scorer wearing a white jersey, Slippery Rock’s Torchia quickly responded to her counterpart with her 31st tally of the 2018 campaign.
SRU’s Emily Bitka entered the day rated first in ground balls per game (5.8), third in save percentage (.562), and ninth in goals-against average (8.65). The goalkeeper continued her stellar play in goal, making seven saves in the first half alone.
Exiting the dressing room even at 1-1, Slippery Rock surrendered a goal to MU’s Lacey Netti, who notched her second point of the game, as she assisted on Anderson’s opening score. Again, SRU mustered a response, this time from freshman midfielder Tori Penders. After trading another tally each in the five minutes that followed, the conference foes were tied at 3-3.
From there, Mercyhurst’s Anderson and Netti grabbed control of the contest, scoring the next three goals. Although Torchia was able to chip into the lead with her second of three goals on the day, the Lakers had a second three-goal run, which was bracketed by another goal from the Rock’s scoring leader.
Torchia’s second goal in her hat trick raised her career scoring total to 100 points, a landmark that only 13 Slippery Rock players have reached. Of the accolade, she said, “It’s really nice to be in that group of people that have made it to 100 points, but I think it comes down a lot to our team and what they are able to create for me to get it to cage every single game.”
Mercyhurst’s 9-5 triumph meant a 12th win in 13 games against Slippery Rock. Also, the Lakers claimed sole possession of third place in the PSAC standings entering the final stretch of the regular season. Each of Slippery Rock’s four losses this season have come against ranked league opponents.
The Rock will hope to rebound from the setback at home against non-conference opponent Charleston, W.Va. before returning to league action for two more games before playoffs. “We know what we have to fix and we know what we need to do,” Torchia stated. “We just need to stop talking about it and actually do it”