On the heels of a Saturday afternoon statement win over Kutztown (4-1 at Sox Harrison Stadium), the Edinboro women’s soccer team was looking for its second straight win over a team sitting within the top five of both the PSAC and NCAA Atlantic Region standings.
Visiting Slippery Rock had other ideas.
Needing only five total shots on the evening, SRU (9-5-1, 9-4 PSAC) took full advantage with a score on one of its three shots on goal, winning 1-0. Edinboro (9-6, 8-5) doubled up the Rock in shots with 10, while also registering four shots on goal in the loss.
“All of these games are like that,” head coach Gary Kagiavas said. “We’ve seen a lot of games where it kind of seems like we don’t get the breaks. I don’t want to make an excuse, [because] Slippery Rock is a really good team.”
Sophomore midfielder Tess Keeley scored to break the tie in the 56th minute off a rebound, as teammate Taylor Sweeney fired a shot from 25 yards out. The Australia native notched her fourth goal of the season.
“I guess they scored [on] the one chance, which really wasn’t even a good chance,” Kagiavas said. “We missed two or three really good chances. I thought we were better.”
Edinboro was without sophomore forward Ashley Mutkus for the match as she was “dealing with some personal issues,” according to Kagiavas. Mutkus is the team’s secondleading scorer this season with 15 points.
In a scoreless first half, Edinboro managed to out-shoot the Rock 6-3 overall while recording four of those shots on goal.
In the 76th minute, Halle Hammer nearly nailed the equalizer on a shot from 30 yards out. After a skip ahead pass to set up the freshman midfielder, Hammer fired just too high over the goal.
“You’re going to get three or four opportunities in a game and you’ve got to score one of them,” Kagiavas said. “You’ve got to.”
The Fighting Scots entered the contest just a half-game ahead of Slippery Rock in the PSAC standings. Edinboro was ranked fifth in the NCAA’s first edition of Atlantic Region rankings, rankings that included seven PSAC teams. Slippery Rock was ninth.
“We need nine points now,” Kagiavas said frankly. “We really need to get to the point where we can host a game. I really want to finish in the top four and host a playoff game. I don’t mind going away, but I’d like to play at home.”
The Fighting Scots have not defeated Slippery Rock since the 2009 season, going 0-4-2 in those matches. SRU leads the all-time series with Edinboro 19-3-7.
“We actually play the same way,” Kagiavas said of the similarities between the squads. “We’re very, very similar in our formation that we play. I think it’s almost like playing yourself.”
Edinboro concludes its regular season with a road affair at Mansfield on Saturday afternoon with a 1:30 p.m. Halloween match against the Mounties before discovering its postseason fate.
Mike Fenner is a Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.