In a rivalry renewal with Indiana (Pa.) (3-4, 1-2 in PSAC) Wednesday, the Slippery Rock University women’s lacrosse team (3-4, 2-2) captured a lead early and refused to give it up, walking off the turf with an 8-6 victory.
The win was the team’s second in as many tries against the Crimson Hawks, who had beaten the Rock six times straight until last spring. The Rock improved to 3-15 in the two schools’ all-time series.
“They’re one of the top teams in the conference every year,” said SRU head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne, a Bloomsburg alum. “I’ve really gotten into the rivalry. I know it’s a big win for The Rock to beat IUP.”
Markers fired from the sticks of junior midfielders ShyAnne Toomer and Tori Penders, and freshman attacker Emily Benham, put the Rock up 3-0 early.
Ally Burrows, IUP’s all-time leading goal scorer and a first-team All-Atlantic Region attacker in 2018, managed to get her team on the board halfway through the period on a free position shot.
After SRU’s Francesca Lindelow and Hayley Pimentel sandwiched another Burrows tally with scores of their own, it looked as if SRU would go into the half ahead by three. But a goal by the visitors’ Victoria Kerkovich with 2.4 seconds until the horn lessened the gap to two.
Kerkovich pulled her team even closer early in the second half, but SRU’s Katie Dlugosz replied a few minutes later. The teams traded goals once more before Benham emphatically buried her second goal of the day with 8:10 left on the clock.
IUP made a desperate last push within the final minute, but Haley Barrett sealed the game, making four stops in the last 44 seconds.
The Crimson Hawks’ Burrows ended the day with a hat trick and, with an average of 3.71, trails only Mercyhurst’s Emma Hubert (4.22) and Gannon’s Erin Rotondo (3.86) for the conference’s lead in goals per game.
Barrett, who entered the afternoon struggling with a .374 save percentage, turned away a dozen shots, seven of such in a tightly-contested second half, and scooped up five ground balls.
“This is almost like a freshman year for her, in the sense of getting that opportunity game after game,” Van Alstyne said. “She’s definitely getting better every day. I think as long as she continues to have that focus and drive she does, we’re going to continue to see great things from her.”
Defenders Rachel Shaw and Danie Porath aided in the defensive effort, combining to cause nine turnovers. It was the first time IUP had been held to single-digits on the board this season.
Next up for Slippery Rock is a road test Saturday at East Stroudsburg, ranked eighth in the country. It will be the third time the Green and White will visit a top ten team this season.