Women’s soccer picks up two wins over weekend

Published by , Author: Karl Ludwig - Rocket Contrubutor, Date: October 15, 2018

Match-ups with then conference leader Millersville University and winless in the conference California University (Pa.) over the weekend saw the Slippery Rock women’s soccer team outscore their opponents 5-1 as the Green and White collected two crucial conference victories.

A Friday away match against No. 14 Millersville following a tough loss to No. 22 Bloomsburg University the weekend before gave The Rock a full week of practice heading into arguably the most important match-up of the season.

Practice – along with some much needed time off – paid off as The Rock was supplied with goals from familiar faces in a 2-1 upset over the Marauders. Senior forwards Brooke Testa and Skye Kramer scored their third and fourth goals of the season, respectively.

A Marauders’ foul in the box awarded the Green and White a penalty kick which Testa took. Testa calmly slotted the ball past Marauders’ goalkeeper Erin Heimbach at 32:00.

The Marauders wasted no time in responding with a strike from Talia Grynkewicz less than four minutes later. Going into the half tied at one, The Rock needed a clutch goal to stay alive in the hunt for a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) playoff spot.

Kramer became the hero when she scored in the 60th minute on an assist from freshman midfielder Jordyn Minda for her first game-winning goal of the season. The lead held up for the Green and White’s second win over a nationally ranked opponent this season.

Senior goalkeeper Kylie Downs made the start in goal for The Rock, recording 11 saves, marshaling the defense to yet another stellar performance. Doubling The Rock’s shots and shots on goal, 26-12 and 12-5, Downs and the defense proved crucial in limiting the high-octane Marauders’ attack.

Less than 48 hours later, The Rock was back on the pitch at home for a match against the Vulcans. Early on in the match, the Green and White looked a little sluggish before head coach Jessica Griggs loudly motivated the squad’s energy.

“They did [respond well],” Griggs said. “What it meant was we had just played 48 hours ago, and we had a really long bus ride. We were cramped up and I knew their legs were tired. But, they responded very well today.”

A first-half barrage over the next half hour effectively ended the game before halftime for The Rock.

Sophomore defender Sophia Harrison scored the first goal of her Rock career in her 30th appearance to open the scoring in the 15th minute. Kramer tallied the assist on Harrison’s beautifully flicked ball over the head of Vulcan goalkeeper Reilly McGlumphy.

Not the only player to score their first goal the season, sophomore midfielder Shannon McIntyre scored a penalty kick in the 42nd minute to extend the lead to three goals. Junior forward Kaitlyn Barackman scored her fourth of the season in the 35th minute unassisted. Barackman dribbled into the box and struck a well-placed ball past McGlumphy while falling down.

The first half explosion of nine shots (seven on goal) and three goals would have been The Rock’s second highest scoring game of the season and Griggs feels as though the performance will be a building block.

“I loved it. I think that the girls are really starting to gain momentum from an attacking standpoint and they’re taking more shots and creating more opportunities which has been wonderful.” Griggs said.

A goalkeeper switch in the second half helped the Vulcans as goalkeeper Carly Gobbie recorded six saves in relief to hold the deficit to only three goals. The Rock attempted 13 second-half shots with six on goal. However, the buzzing attackers were unable to find the back of the net.

Junior defender Madison Johnson and sophomore defender Elise Forry led a Rock defense which stifled the Vulcans all game. Very little possession, especially in The Rock’s zone, led to only two shots with none reaching Downs.

The dominating shutout marked the second straight victory for the Green and White on a quick turnaround. Preparation for both games varied from the less than ideal circumstances.

“No, because they’re two different teams. Tactically, no, and also from a legs standpoint,” Griggs said. “We were able to prepare a little bit more for Millersville, but we only had one day for Cal and it was honestly a recovery day.”

With the pair of wins, The Rock moves to 9-4-2 while being 7-4-2 in the PSAC.

Regardless of the level of competition or turnaround time, The Rock collected two crucial PSAC victories to remain eighth in the conference. With three PSAC games remaining, the Green and White hold a six-point edge over Gannon University for the last playoff spot.

A home contest with Mercyhurst on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. followed by an away match with Shippensburg University on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 2:30 p.m. are on schedule for The Rock this week.

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Karl is a senior sport management major and communication minor entering his fifth semester on The Rocket staff. He will serve as the sports editor after previously serving as the assistant sports editor. During his time with The Rocket, he has covered every sport that SRU has to offer, and with the lack of sports this coming semester, he is looking forward to finding alternative ways to deliver sports news to the SRU community. After graduation, he hopes to work in the sports writing field.