Surviving a first-half surge from Walsh University, freshman defender Madison Johnson’s thunderous header broke open a scoreless contest to hand the Slippery Rock women’s soccer team a 1-0 result in non-conference play.
In what has become a trend this season, a freshman scored the game-winning goal for the fourth game in a row. Freshman forward Jordyn Minda was responsible for the first three while Johnson notched her first today.
Stellar play from freshmen has not been limited to goal-scoring; goalkeeping kept The Rock competitive in the first-half against the Cavaliers. Thrust into action for the second consecutive match, freshman goalkeeper Emma Yoder responded with the strongest game of her already impressive young career.
On the defensive most of the first-half, the score heading into halftime could have easily been 2-0 or 3-0 if not for Yoder—who made four crucial saves. Unable to muster a shot in the first-half, The Rock relied heavily upon the young goalkeeper until finally breaking through in the 77th minute.
A set piece goal for the Green and White was set up from a corner kick sent into the box by freshman midfielder Megan Sikora. Senior forward Skye Kramer found the ball and sent a cross toward the streaking center-back, Johnson, whose head struck the ball cleanly past the Cavaliers’ goalkeeper.
Yoder was tested four more times in the second-half, three shots were sent on goal after the Johnson goal, but the freshman recorded her second consecutive eight-save shutout for the Green and White.
Yoder’s second shutout, The Rock’s fifth of the season, lowered the goal against per game average to a sparkling .331 which ranks third in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). The Rock’s two goals allowed this season ranks tied for second with Kutztown University. The combined play of Yoder and senior Kylie Downs gives The Rock exemplary leadership and production for one of the most unsolvable defenses in Division II soccer.
Ignoring the depth of this squad has proven to be a fatal error for opposing squads as each week a new player steps up in a clutch moment. If Minda is not scoring three game-winning goals in less than two weeks, then freshman forward Rachel Edge is dishing out three assists in a single game. If senior forward Brooke Testa is not firing away goals from the penalty spot, then Kramer is making magical runs into the box to set her teammates up for tap in finishes. The Rock boasts a squad in which all three levels of the team are capable of scoring in big moments.
With the win, the Green and White improve to 5-1-0 (.833) with an unchanged 3-1-0 (.750) record in the PSAC. The non-conference matchup saw The Rock slip to a tie for third in the PSAC standings. The loss drops the Cavaliers to 3-2-1 (.583) with a 2-1-1 (.625) record in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
The Rock returns home on Tuesday, Sept. 18 to start a two-game homestand with PSAC foes, Edinboro University and Lock Haven University at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium. The matches, on Tuesday and Friday, begin at 4:00 PM. Competing against middle of the pack PSAC teams, The Rock will look to take six important points in the struggle for PSAC seeding.