Freshman forward Jordyn Minda’s goal in the 54th minute proved to be the game-winner as the Slippery Rock women’s soccer team blanked yet another Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) opponent in Clarion University 1-0 on the road.
With star senior goalkeeper Kylie Downs on the bench, freshman goalkeeper Emma Yoder debuted for the Green and White in show-stopping fashion. Yoder shutout Clarion with an eight-save performance while Minda scored her third game-winning goal in five games for The Rock.
Sitting in the locker room at halftime, deadlocked at zero, The Rock had 45 minutes to score a goal or face an upset by winless Clarion. Minda needed less than 10 minutes. Freshman defender Katy Ericson threaded a ball through the Golden Eagles’ defense for Minda. The Rock’s leading scorer collected the ball, struck a well-placed ball past the Golden Eagles’ goalkeeper and broke the stalemate between the PSAC foes. The 1-0 lead achieved at 53:15 held through until the final whistle.
The Golden Eagles came close to tying the match in the 82nd minute when Emma Yoder was forced to make a spectacular save on a shot fired from the Golden Eagles’ Meliah Roman. Yoder’s eighth save of the match proved to be her biggest as the Green and White shutout the Golden Eagles.
In a fairly even game, the play of a couple of freshmen influenced the match enough for The Rock to clinch an important conference victory which is pivotal for the Green and White to continue climbing the PSAC standings.
Downs firmly holds a place among the top goalkeepers in the PSAC, but Yoder has proven to be a valuable deputy this season, capable of stepping in and stealing a win when called upon. Yoder has a chance to sit behind Downs this season, soaking up all the knowledge and, experience when handed sporadic starts, Downs passes along before stepping in full-time next season.
The youth movement is strongest, however, in the forwards where Minda leads the team in points with six off three goals. Fellow freshman forward Rachel Edge ranks second in points off a goal and three assists. Freshman forward Reagan Reeves has also contributed a goal in limited play this season.
Fellow freshmen Ericson and midfielder Georgia Nagucki have also contributed this season for the Green and White.
With the victory, The Rock continues to rise up the standings, moving to 4-1-0 (.800) with a 3-1-0 (.750) record in the conference to tie for second place in the standing. The clipped Golden Eagles sink deeper into a hole with a 0-5-0 (.000) record and a 0-5-0 (.000) record in the conference to fall into a tie for last.
Moving forward, The Green and White travel to North Canton, Ohio on Saturday for a non-conference tilt against Walsh University. A two-game homestand next Tuesday and Friday against Edinboro University and Lock Haven University, respectively, will start a critical stretch of PSAC play culminating with the PSAC Tournament on Oct. 30.
The future is now for The Rock women’s soccer team as this year’s squad combines the perfect mixture of veteran leadership and up-and-coming talent to win the PSAC Championship.