Coming off a successful year, the Slippery Rock Women’s soccer team hopes to keep their title of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) champions alive.
Prior to the season, all coaches came to the mutual agreement that Slippery Rock is the team to beat this year. Of the nine teams in the poll, the Rock had six votes in their favor, followed by Mercyhurst with two. The Gannon Golden Knights claimed one vote earning third, leaving Edinboro in fourth, and Indiana (Pa.) taking fifth. Remaining, Pitt-Johnstown placed sixth, Seton Hill in seventh, California (Pa.) for the eighth spot and Clarion rounded out the rest of the teams in last place predictions.
On the Eastern side of the poll, Bloomsburg was favored to take the championship title with six votes, similarly to Slippery Rock. In second, West Chester, followed by East Stroudsburg in third. Millersville, Kutztown, and Shippensburg take fourth, fifth and sixth in that exact order. Lock Haven, Mansfield and Shepherd slotted the lower end of the Eastern Division rankings.
On either side of the division, teams ranking within the top four at the end of the regular season qualify for a chance to take their shot at the PSAC Tournament. Eventually, the numbers are added up, with a win yielding three points and a tie splitting one point per team. Based on those numbers the top teams will have their chance at a trip to the PSAC Championship.
For the last 24 years, Slippery Rock has had winning seasons. It is no surprise that with statistics like that they are consecutively placed at the top. This also puts them in a position as one of the most winningest teams within their division. Of all NCAA Division II win streaks, the Rock ranks fourth among all programs in history.
Many players come from backgrounds at the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Century United, Chelsea and other soccer programs that have helped the team remain elite throughout their college careers.
Their winning season wouldn’t be possible without the players’ hard work but also the dedication of Head Coach Jessica Giegucz, who holds a 63-29-6 (.673) record. The Rock women’s soccer team ended the seven-year streak taking the title of PSAC Champions in 2019. Giegucz coached many athletes over the years that went on to win achievements. This upcoming season will be her seventh consecutive season as head coach at SRU. She’s looking to lead the team to its sixth year qualifying for the PSAC Tournament.
The team finished with an 18-4 record in 2019. Of that squad, 17 players will be returning to play again this year. Specifically, Rachel Edge, who was awarded lead goal scorer and PSAC West Athlete of the Year. The Yoder girls will take the field together bringing a strong force to The Rock offense and defense.
After a long-awaited 600 or more days, The Rock will step back onto the grass on Sept. 2. Slippery Rock will face off with West Virginia Wesleyan at home before heading to Fairmont State on Sept. 5. The official conference competitions begin the week of Sept. 8 vs Clarion, followed by Pitt Johnstown on Sept 11.
The projected date for the first round of PSAC Tournament play is set for Nov. 9, the semifinals on Nov. 12 and the Championship on Nov. 14. This year, the goal remains the same: Bring home another winning season with the title “champions.”