Women’s soccer drops first game against IUP

Published by , Author: Karl Ludwig - Rocket Contributor, Date: September 7, 2018
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Strong goaltending stifled No. 19 Slippery Rock women’s soccer as Indiana University (Pa.) handed The Rock their first loss of the season.

The 2-1 defeat at South Campus Field in Indiana, Pa. effectively ended the Green and White’s two-game win streak to begin the season.

In a match where The Rock’s potent attack was putting countless chances on goal, Crimson Hawks’ goalkeeper Madeline Smakulski recorded 11 saves to leave the Green and White feeling helpless. Eight Rock players attempted shots but only freshman forward Rachel Edge was able to solve Smakulski.

The Crimson Hawks found the back of the net early in the first half, running out to an early 1-0 lead. The Crimson Hawks’ McKenna Kiffel played a through ball forward for teammate, Mahogany Willis, who ended Rock senior goalkeeper Kylie Down’s shutout streak at 189:08 minutes of play after beating the keeper in a one-on-one situation.

Just before the half, a sharp-eyed freshman forward Rachel Edge found the ball unattended in the Crimson Hawks’ box and struck the ball low toward the bottom corner and past opposing goalkeeper Madeline Smakulski for her first goal as a member of the Green and White. The match went into the half level at one.

In the 82nd minute of action, Willis was able to slice through The Rock’s defense after collecting a well-placed pass from teammate Carley Donia and beat Downs for her second goal of the match. The goal proved to be the game-winner as the match in ended in a 2-1 defeat for the Green and White.

Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) player of the week, Kylie Downs, recorded two saves on four shots as the senior keeper was unable to keep up with Smakulski – the almost inarguable Woman of the Match.

Edge’s goal brings The Rock’s goal total to three on the young season while the defense has still only allowed two goals. All three goals have been scored by different players with two of the goals coming from freshmen Rachel Edge and freshman midfielder Jordyn Minda.

The Green and White are still looking for last season’s key contributors, senior forwards Brooke Testa and Skye Kramer, to find the back of the net for the first time this season. In their absences, the inexperienced freshmen have had a chance to gain some crucial experience which may prove vital in season-defining conference clashes later in the season.

While finding the net has been a struggle for Testa and Kramer thus far, a lack of effort has not been the culprit. Both women have tallied assists on their teammates’ goals. Testa currently paces the squad with eight shots while Kramer ranks third with five shots in three games. The production will return as the team builds chemistry in the coming weeks.

With the loss, The Rock sinks to 2-1-0 (.667) with a 1-1-0 (.500) record in the PSAC. The Crimson Hawks’ win elevates their record to 3-1-0 (.750) with a 2-1-0 (.667) record in the PSAC. IUP currently sits in a six-way tie for first in the PSAC whereas SRU sits only three points back in a tie for ninth.

Downs, Testa, and Kramer will look to bounce back at home with a PSAC match-up against Mansfield University on Saturday, Sept. 8th at 1:00 PM. A few days off follow the match before another conference match-up on the road at Clarion University on Wednesday, September 12th under the lights at 7:00 PM.

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Karl is a senior sport management major and communication minor entering his fifth semester on The Rocket staff. He will serve as the sports editor after previously serving as the assistant sports editor. During his time with The Rocket, he has covered every sport that SRU has to offer, and with the lack of sports this coming semester, he is looking forward to finding alternative ways to deliver sports news to the SRU community. After graduation, he hopes to work in the sports writing field.

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