As Slippery Rock women’s soccer prepared for its first-round playoff game, Emma Yoder, goalie and defensive specialist, was awarded the weekly Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) honorary title of Defensive Athlete of the Week. However, the quarterfinal match against the Gannon University Golden Knights was on the forefront of her mind.
For the first round of PSAC tournament play, Slippery Rock was paired against Gannon after playing them earlier this week and ending in a draw. Yoder outnumbered Gannon’s goalie Morgan Sinan with six saves on the night.
In her senior season, Yoder recorded 58 saves in total. This put The Rock as the third seed within the playoff bracket. The Golden Knights outplayed The Rock ending their playoff run quickly with a 5-3 victory. After a scoreless game four days prior, the intensity was higher for playoffs.
Gannon led 11-5 in shots on goal, having the ball on their side of the field for most of the match. In Tuesday’s game, Gannon Head Coach Colin Peterson was unable to attend due to a red card he received at Saturday’s conference game against Slippery Rock. They pulled off the win with Assistant Coach Danny Lowton and help from the men’s soccer team.
Simultaneously, a contest between Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and Millersville University of Pennsylvania decided who Gannon will face in the semifinals. The Millersville Marauders and the Gannon Golden Knights will compete for a spot in the 2021 PSAC Championship. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and West Chester University of Pennsylvania will battle for the competing spot on the East side of the bracket.
In their matchup earlier in the season Slippery Rock defeated Gannon at home. Both losses to Gannon came on the road in Erie. In Tuesday’s meeting Gannon struck first, continued to lead them throughout the game, and forced a deficit that The Rock couldn’t bounce back from.
Jordyn Minda, Julia Mascaro and Maddie DeLucio tallied the three goals for Slippery Rock. For DeLucio, the crucial playoff goal was the first of her collegiate career. Minda tallied eight goals in her final season and Mascaro allotted three goals this year with another season to go in her career.
Looking back on the season, Head Coach Jessica (Griggs) Giegucz directed the team to an 11-3-2 (12-4-3) conference record. In her seventh season with The Rock, Giegucz’s team has made the PSAC Tournament every year since she took over the role.
Tuesday’s game could potentially be the last time on a soccer field for the 10 seniors who will graduate in the spring if they do not receive the at-large berth.
There is still hope that Slippery Rock will earn a berth in the NCAA tournament as one of the five Atlantic Region teams. It all comes down to the rankings, which include both PSAC and Mountain East Conference (MEC) teams. As of now, The Rock is out of reach in eighth place but could earn a spot with major upsets in the remainder of the playoffs.
Nonetheless, 2021 will still go down in SRU’s history book as another consecutive winning season.