Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, but lightning disrupts region’s games

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 at 6:27 PM
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow,  but lightning disrupts region’s games by Chris Rosato Jr.
Photo: Kelly Staschak

With the forecasts calling for the first bouts of winter snow this past week, athletes in the region were layering up underneath their jerseys.

Still, nobody anticipated sideways rain, sleet, hail and even lightning popping up in the region.

While the rest of the weather made playing conditions more difficult, it was the lightning that disrupted multiple games in the area.

In Edinboro, fair weather with occasional light rain turned to pounding hail minutes before Saturday’s football game kicked off, greeting both teams with a layer of ice on the field. Heavy, gusting wind and rain during the second half left many attendees with inverted umbrellas.

Edinboro’s women’s soccer team was set to begin their match against East Stroudsburg at 4:30 p.m., but that game got delayed by 30 minutes due to a lightning sighting within 10 miles. They saw a second 30-minute delay about 15 minutes into the first half as Edinboro was putting pressure on the Warriors. 

The Fighting Scots scored when play resumed, but the Warriors tied the game in the second half and eventually won during a second overtime period.

“I just thought 15 minutes in we had the better of the game and that kind of took that momentum away, but I...don’t really want to say that’s the reason [we lost],” Head Soccer Coach Gary Kagiavas said of the second delay. “There’s a reason they have won the PSAC four years in a  row.”

In Erie, Mercyhurst University would bear the brunt of the weather. Their football team was nearly halfway through a contest against California University of Pennsylvania when the game was suspended to the next day. The Vulcans were forced to return home and travel north again Sunday morning to resume the game at noon.

That contest was suspended with 2:39 left in the first half and with California leading 6-0 courtesy of two field goals. They added a third field goal to end the half leading by 9. Though the weather improved Sunday, Mercyhurst didn’t, giving up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lose 23-0.

Lakers Head Coach Marty Schaetzle said the experience was more different than difficult, especially getting the players in the same pre-game mindset as they were on Saturday.

“I think just the stopping and starting affected both offenses a little bit, really both of our offenses — us and Cal — probably didn’t do as well as we wanted to, surely for us. And that’s just kind of a rhythm thing that you want to get into,” Schaetzle said.

“During the day there were some sunny times too, so it was one of those Erie days,” he continued. “You know, city of Erie — and Edinboro is in there too — [is] where you get all four seasons in a day. So at times the weather was a factor, but at other times it was a really nice day out.”

Gannon University’s football team also saw weather-related issues during their 43-34 defeat at the hands of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Like Edinboro’s soccer team, lightning delayed the start; this game actually started over an hour late. Both teams fought through three separate delays — totaling 140 minutes — during the game, and even chose not to take the typical 20-minute break during halftime since a delay had stopped play minutes earlier.

Going back to Boro, Kagiavas said that while delays can be tough to play through, the main fear for the athletes is the possibility of injury from the nontraditional interval of activity.

“I can tell you [that] if there is anything to be concerned [about, it] is mostly about injuries,” he said. “It’s not directly about playing. It’s just cooling down and then you have to warm up...and it’s cold.”

Football wasn’t the only sport that faced delays in Erie, as Mercyhurst’s men’s and women’s soccer teams were forced to postpone their games from Saturday to Sunday. They both earned 2-0 wins over Shippensburg Sunday.

The concern for Mercyhurst and California’s football teams now become the loss of a day of preparation for their upcoming games. Sunday is generally a rest and recovery day, with the possibility of light weight lifting or similar exercise. After playing Sunday, the teams were forced to adjust their weekly plans. 

“It’ll be interesting how it fits into the rest of this week, [as we] now played on Sunday [and] as we prep for this week on Saturday,” Schaetzle said. “So it’s a little bit different. We basically lose a day. We lose a day of review and teaching and film, so we’re just going to have to make that up during the week. And then California of course will go through the same thing as they get ready to play their next game.”

Mercyhurst football squares off against Gannon Saturday. Gannon lost earlier this year to Edinboro on homecoming weekend, but Mercyhurst toppled the Fighting Scots the next week at Mercyhurst.

There is a 50 percent chance of rain, with temperatures in the 40s at kickoff. No lightning is in the forecast.

Christopher Rosato Jr. can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: sports, football

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