By Melissa Barracado Staff writer
The Susquehanna women’s soccer team suffered its second Landmark Conference loss on Oct. 22 against the visiting Elizabethtown Blue Jays.
The only other loss within the conference for Susquehanna was a 3-2 overtime loss to Scranton a few weeks earlier.
The score against Elizabethtown remained tied at zero until the final 90 seconds when Elizabethtown scored on a free kick from just outside the 18- yard box.
The River Hawks still had something to celebrate, as they honored their seven seniors: goalkeeper Jordyn Slocum; defenders Alex Edelman, Cassandra Destefano and Shauna Barry; midfielders Emily Firestone and Rachel Moyer and forward Ashley Rose Lynn.
“They’ve all been great people for this program both on and off the field for the last four years,” Head Coach Nick Hoover said.
Each senior player was recognized at the beginning of the game as they were escorted onto the field by their family members.
“The season has flown by as a senior, and I think since we’re doing so well I’m happy, but it’s still sad to think about,” Edelman said.
There is one game remaining in the regular season before the playoffs, which begin on Nov. 2.
Throughout the season, the River Hawks have stuck to their game plan of keeping the ball on the offensive end, while still maintaining one of the best defensive strategies in the Landmark Conference.
“This year when we came in we knew we had the talent, but it’s more about every person bringing what they can to the field,” Edelman said.
This year’s team has one of the largest rosters that the program has seen at 33 players.
Despite the loss, the River Hawks outshot the Blue Jays 10-9, with shots coming from Edelman as well as junior forward Alyssa Bolger, sophomore forward Emily Sullivan and freshman midfielder Alee Pettit. Junior goalkeeper Jennifer Thorsheim tallied two saves.
According to Edelman, team chemistry is a big contributor to the team’s success so far this season, as is the leadership from players of all years.
“At practice we really push each other, and during games we have a different mentality than other teams,” Edelman said. “We have a lot of team leaders and people who step up and I think that has contributed to [the team’s success].”
“In years past we would let mistakes get the better of us but now we dismiss them a bit better,” Hoover said. “Our main focus has been sticking to what we do no matter what the opponent does, and not letting them dictate how we play.”
Susquehanna also played their last non-conference game of the season on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at home against Lancaster Bible. The River Hawks were able to close out the game with a 4-1 victory.
Susquehanna racked up 17 shots on the afternoon and put nine of those shots on goal, while Lancaster Bible was limited to just seven shots in the entire game. Slocum, who started the game in goal for the River Hawks, was able to make four saves during the game.
Four different players scored a goal for the River Hawks. Pettit, junior forward Geena Ragozine, junior midfielder Grayclynn Juckes and sophomore forward Emily Sullivan all scored while sophomore midfielder Kate Cantrell added an assist on the Ragozine goal.
The scoring kicked off in the 19th minute when Sullivan scored an unassisted goal to give the River Hawks a 1-0 lead over the Chargers.
Ragozine added another goal for the River Hawks in the first half off her heel on a pass from Cantrell to give the River Hawks a 2-0 lead going into the half.
Lancaster Bible responded early in the second half, as senior forward Alyssa Wesner knocked in an unassisted goal on a perfect bend into the upper right hand corner of the net to narrow the deficit to just one goal.
Susquehanna had the response, burying a goal of their own, as Jukes put in a unassisted goal after getting an open look on the left side to make the score 3-1 River Hawks.
Susquehanna closed out the scoring just 11 minutes later as Pettit scored her second goal of the season on an unassisted look to give the River Hawks the final score of the game and the 4-1 win.
The win was just the fourth time this season that Susquehanna has scored four times in a game.
It also continued their run of dominant defense, as they have only allowed two goals in their last four games, going 3-1 in those games, with their only loss coming at the hands of Elizabethtown.
Susquehanna closes out the regular season with a visit to Moravian on Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.
It is an important game for the River Hawks, who are currently 4-2 in the conference and tied for second with Moravian and Catholic. Elizabethtown sits just one game back with a record of 3-3 in the conference.
A win over Moravian would guarantee Susquehanna a home playoff game, as the River Hawks beat Catholic earlier in the season. A loss could end Susquehanna’s season.