Two second-half goals doomed the Slippery Rock women’s soccer team at home on Saturday as Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) leading East Stroudsburg University blanked The Rock 2-0.
The Rock was only able to muster two shots on goal against the Warriors, junior forward Tyler Spence and junior defender Madison Johnson recording the only attempts, as the Green and White were shutout for only the second time this season.
Riding a three-match winless streak, The Rock clashed with a squad that had strung together five consecutive victories. The Green and White also carried a winless streak against the Warriors dating back to the 2013 season.
A 2-nil shutout for the Warriors extended their win streak to six games and marked another season of losing to East Stroudsburg for Slippery Rock.
A competitive first half of play saw senior goalkeeper Kylie Downs notch two saves to keep the match even at zero heading into the intermission.
The Rock was unable to test Warriors’ goalkeeper Mauri Jackson in the first half as no shots on goal were registered. Sophomore defender Sophia Harrison generated the best chance of the half for the Green and White with a strong header toward net that was blocked away by the Warriors’ defense in the 12th minute.
When the second half resumed, the stalemate continued until Warriors’ center back Syd Hicks chipped a ball over The Rock defense to open up the defense in the box in the 59th minute. Warriors’ forward Alex Pickett collected the ball and slotted home her second goal of the season to open the scoring in the PSAC contest.
The Warriors struck again when forward Amy Strauser played a ball past Downs into the net from seven feet out for her third goal of the season. Teammate Mallory Johnson crossed the ball from the left side of the pitch which Strauser found amidst The Rock defenders. The 2-0 lead in the 71st minute would hold up through the final whistle.
A push from The Rock in the late second half was orchestrated by Spence darting through Warriors’ defenders to unleash a shot on Jackson that was saved. With less than six minutes remaining in the match, Johnson’s strong header was knocked aside by Jackson who claimed a 2-0 shutout for the Warriors.
A familiar trend continued for the Green and White on Saturday as the offense struggled to maintain consistent pressure in the Warriors’ half. Two shots on goal lowered the shots on goal per contest to 5.45 which ranks fourth from worst in the PSAC. Goals per game has dropped toward the middle of the conference rankings at 1.364 while the six-goal showing against Mansfield appears to be an aberration.
With the offense struggling to click, the defense and goaltending continue to excel. Holding conference goal leader East Stroudsburg to only two goals proved to be a challenging task. Downs recorded five saves in the contest. The Green and White rank in the top five of the PSAC in goals against per game and total goals allowed this season.
With a collective save percentage of .881, Downs and freshman goalkeeper Emma Yoder rank third in the PSAC in team save percentage. The Rock also ranks at the top in shutouts with seven this season in 11 games.
Consecutive losses drop The Rock to eighth in the PSAC at 6-3-2 (.636) with a 4-3-2 (.556) record in the PSAC. The Warriors’ six consecutive win propels them to a 7-2-1 (.750) record while being 7-1-1 (.850) in the PSAC to preserve their one-point lead over Millersville and Seton Hill University for first in the conference.
The Rock will attempt to resume their winning ways on Wednesday, Oct. 3 against Pitt-Johnstown to conclude their homestand.