Tuesday afternoon, the Rams (0-1) lost a heart-breaker to the Raiders (2-0) of Shippensburg University by a 9-8 score.
Coming out, the Rams trailed 1-0, but responded quickly with two goals. The first was scored by senior attacker Brooke Hunley. Freshman attacker Lillian Funke notched the assist, setting up Hunley nicely.
Just a few minutes later, the Rams tacked on another goal, this time from senior midfielder Haley Price. The Rams led 2-1 at the 14:48 mark of the first half.
In a game that went back and forth early on, attacker Amanda Frank of the Raiders scored her second goal of the half at the 9:40 mark. This tied the game at 2-2 going into halftime.
While the Rams outshot the Raiders in the first half 12-11, the second half proved to be a much different story.
Outshooting the Rams 17-9 in the second half, the Raiders were bombarding the Rams with their relentless attack. Something changed coming out of halftime, as the Raiders had new-found power, scoring four goals in less than a five-minute stretch.
Attacker Maggie Lawshe assisted on the first two goals, finding gaps to exploit in the Rams’ defense. She set up midfielder Max Barkley and midfielder Ali Harclerode for easy shots on goal that gave the Raiders a 4-2 lead.
Haclerode added another goal in the fast-developing onslaught, this time courtesy of an assist by midfielder Madi Newman.
Now up 5-2, Frank put the finishing touches on the 5-0 run with another goal that gave the Raiders some breathing space.
Surely discouraged but still fighting, junior midfielder Sarah Wendt recorded an unassisted goal as she tried to get the Rams back into the game.
Price then quickly found the back of the net on her shot that was orchestrated by senior attacker Alex Green.
Just like that, the Rams were making things interesting, now down 6-4.
Attacker Allison Fungate of the Raiders countered with a goal of her own to make the score 7-4 in favor of the Raiders.
The Rams real comeback started then, as they would go on to score four of the next five goals. Three consecutive goals scored by Green, Hunley, and junior midfielder Courtney Matthews struck fear in the hearts of the Raiders, as the game was now tied at 8-8.
Matthews’ goal came at the 9:14 mark in the contest. From there on out, it was a defensive struggle, as all of a sudden both sides could not muster any offense as the defenses locked down, sensing the urgency at hand.
Fungate, who caused the Rams problems earlier, saw the clock ticking down and launched a rocket right through the heart of the Rams’ defense that went to the back of the net with 00:27 remaining.
With little time to work with, the Rams were not able to get the needed goal to go into overtime, and fell by a 9-8 score.
Junior goalkeeper Casey Hickman of the Rams had a rough second half, but still managed to record 14 saves. Bridgette Morrissey had four saves for the Raiders.
Shippensburg led the draw controls with an 11-8 margin, as well as a decisive 25-19 edge in ground balls. The Rams were 20-of-23 in clears, while the Raiders were 16-of-17.
After the game, through email, Coach Jenny Cavey of the Rams had the following to say:
“The largest factors was this was our first game and we had some first game jitters that were being worked out. Turnovers and draw controls also played a factor in the outcome. We played well defensively and in the transition game. We need to improve on executing on the attacking end. ”
Going forward, Cavey commented on what the Rams have to work on:
“Moving forward we need to play with confidence. I’m really proud how they played today. They never gave up so we just have a few things to touch up on for Saturday’s game.”
This Saturday, March 4, the Rams will be searching for their first win of the season at home against Mercyhurst University. The match starts at 1:00 p.m.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at email@example.com