On Sunday, the Slippery Rock women clinched the PSAC championship with a 2-1 victory over Edinboro. The championship is The Rock’s first since 2012, and that season The Rock made it to round three of the NCAA tournament. The championship also marks the first under Coach Jessica Griggs. Griggs, who is in her fifth season, has brought the team to the PSAC tournament every season thus far.
The Rock’s first scoring opportunity came when Rachel Edge was fouled in the box, prompting a penalty kick that was taken by Edge and stopped by Edinboro goalkeeper Anna Voelker. The Rock then struck first minutes later when Sofia Harrison took a shot from outside the box that wound up in the back of the net. Harrison scored two goals in the PSAC tournament and both helped the Rock take an early lead.
“It’s awesome, I’m just proud of the girls and I’m for them. I told them this morning, it’s their journey and we’re just lucky to be along for it,” Griggs said.
In the past four seasons, The Rock has seen early exits come left and right, but this season the team earned home field advantage for the tournament and pulled out the fourth conference championship in program history.
The Fighting Scots tied the game up in the 72nd minute, when Danielle Chatten scored her 12th goal of the season. Chatten had a goal in every game against the Rock this season, but in the end, Chatten’s goal was not enough. The Rock scored the game-winning goal less than three minutes later. Freshman Kayla Swope netted the goal with an assist from Georgia Nagucki, and that goal turned out to be the deciding goal in a tightly contested match.
“It’s just awesome, this team as a whole like we talked about all year; there’s so many different ways they can score and you don’t know how it’s going to come but they make it work. It’s cool that it can come in different ways, and Kayla’s just been awesome for us and that game-winner is a big thing and she’ll always remember that,” Griggs said.
This season Swope scored seven goals and had nine assists, totaling 23 points which is second on the team to only Edge who has 38 points.
Emma Yoder earned the PSAC tournament MVP honors, in the championship game she made five saves and in the tournament overall she made 13 saves. Yoder put up a shutout against East Stroudsburg to help the Rock advance to the PSAC championship game. In the championship game, Yoder made a late penalty kick stop to ensure the game remained 2-1.
“It’s just really deserved, she pulled out a PK save and she works really hard. She’s come back from an injury too, so she has some doubts about herself sometimes, and she comes up big and we love her,” Griggs said.
The women’s soccer PSAC championship victory comes on the heels of the football team winning the PSAC championship in their respective sport only 24 hours earlier against Kutztown 37-35. The football team was in the stands for the whole game cheering on the women’s soccer team, and after the game both teams joined together for a picture to close out a big weekend for Rock Athletics.
“It’s awesome, what school gets to win two championships in the same weekend? It’s awesome for Slippery Rock, it’s awesome for our community, it’s just totally awesome for everyone,” Griggs said.
After winning the PSAC championship, The Rock earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. This will be Coach Griggs first appearance in the NCAA tournament with the Rock, as they’ve finished just outside of an appearance in the past. In the last regional rankings, the Rock was second behind only Bloomsburg. The Rock will look to continue a very successful season in the first round of the NCAA tournament, which begins on Thursday, November 21.