Despite the visitors having to start a position player in net, the Slippery Rock University women’s lacrosse team (2-4, 1-2 in PSAC) was defeated, 14-8, by Kutztown (2-4, 1-2 in PSAC) in a Saturday afternoon PSAC clash at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.
The scoring opened early for the Golden Bears as Makayla Bowman made the most out of a free position shot less than a minute-and-a-half into the contest. Exactly two minutes later, The Rock’s leading scorer, junior midfielder ShyAnne Toomer, capitalized on a free position shot of her own.
Things looked promising for the day when Kutztown’s Devon Fitzpatrick allowed the Green and White’s assault to strike again a minute later. SRU attacker Molly Buettner, four days removed from her game-winner against Lock Haven, notched the fourth marker of her freshman season on an assist from senior Kelly Muenster. Due to an injury that kept regular Haley Kline out of her second game in a row, Fitzpatrick, a 2018 All-PSAC midfielder, was forced into goal for the first time in her collegiate career.
Following another exchange of goals, the score was deadlocked at three apiece with ten minutes remaining before the break. Subsequently, in a span that lasted little over three minutes, the Golden Bears built a three-goal advantage. Each side would allow another first-half goal, with the visitors’ Bowman entering the intermission with a hat trick and a 7-4 lead.
“Overall we came out pretty flat emotionally,” head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne said. “The first half, we couldn’t even get into our high-pressure defense. They dictated the pace of the game and we made a lot of decisions that weren’t really smart in the midfield.”
That halftime advantage was stretched to five goals early in the second half. Even with Toomer completing a hat trick of her own, Slippery Rock was unable to come within any less than four scores for the rest of the game.
Along with her three goals and one assist, Toomer led her team in caused turnovers (3) and ground balls (4.) Freshman attacker Emily Benham, with a goal and an assist, was the only other player in a Green and White uniform to log multiple points. Sophomores Hayley Pimentel and Jordan Grey and junior midfielder Tori Penders also added goals.
Each team’s goalie finished with a half-dozen saves, but it was Kutztown’s Fitzpatrick that was mobbed by her teammates at the horn.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t get anything going,” Van Alstyne said, adding that turnovers in transition, bad passes, and poor shot choice weren’t any help in her team’s effort.
Van Alstyne highlighted offensive consistency as an issue, but she was encouraged by the ball movement and looks at the cage that her players got in the game’s final 15 minutes. Over a third of the Rock’s 22 shots came in that time frame.
Prior to Saturday’s loss, Slippery Rock had beaten the Golden Bears in eight of its previous nine tries dating back to 2009. The team will look for a better result Wednesday, when it will welcome archrival Indiana (Pa.) into its home for a 4 p.m. first draw.