The Slippery Rock University field hockey team, who are projected to finish eighth in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Preseason Coaches Poll, look to rebound from a 6-12 record last season and return to the playoffs after a one year hiatus. Head coach Julie Swiney guided the Rock to the playoffs in two of her first three seasons as head coach before suffering a ninth place finish last season.
“We are determined to have a winning season and finish in the top six of the conference, which would qualify us for the playoffs,” Swiney said. Millersville is the overwhelming favorite to capture the PSAC crown this year, earning eight first place votes.
Entering her fifth season, Swiney has plenty of playmakers, returning six of the top seven scorers from last year’s squad. Senior midfielder, Kelsey Gustafson (five goals, three assists last season), who was named All-PSAC a year ago, leads the Rock’s attack.
“I am extremely hopeful this season that our team will really pull together, and work as one unit to achieve our goals. Everyone on the team is focused on making it to PSACs this year, and I believe that we definitely have the potential to get there,” Gustafson said, referring to her expectations on the upcoming season.
Other top scorers from last season include redshirt senior Allison Shade and sophomore Megan McKay.
“We have a very strong group of returners that are all looking forward to leading the team to success this season,” Coach Swiney said. There is also a number of newcomers to the squad that look to make an immediate impact this year, including goalkeeper Nicole Bream, who holds Dallastown High School’s record in career shutouts.
The Rock will open up the 2014 campaign with a pair of games in Springfield, Massachusetts. On Sept. 6 they take on American International College, followed by a meeting with Bellarmine University the next day. The team will open up PSAC action when they return home Sept. 10 against Seton Hill University.