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Down by a goal early on, any other team would panic, but for head coach Gary Agard’s Crimson Hawks, he couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
The Indiana University of Pennsylvania field hockey team, trying for its first winning streak of the season, again fell behind early in the game Wednesday night at George P. Miller Stadium, before storming back against visiting Slippery Rock University.
For the fifth straight game, IUP failed to score the first goal after Lindsay Brown put the visitors on top in the 27th minute.
“This is us,” Agard said. “It takes resolve to get us going. We are so resilient. We never see a deficit; we always see the potential of getting better and really going out there and executing. We become a little more focused [when down early].”
IUP wasted no time coming back, as Casey McGowan (junior, physical education) began her career night putting the Crimson Hawks on the board in the 31st minute on an assist from Ashley Mosner (junior, criminology), ending Slippery Rock’s short-lived lead.
IUP got ahead when McGowan scored again in the 46th minute on a pass from Chelsea Wanamaker (junior, psychology).
The McGowan hat trick was completed in the 49th minute when some good passing put IUP up 3-1. Dani Edwards (senior, merchandising) took a short corner and found Wanamaker. Wanamaker made a short pass to her left to McGowan, who fired the ball into the Slippery Rock net.
“That’s amazing,” Agard said of McGowan’s three-goal effort.
“Casey has been practicing her short corners really well, and today all the hard work she put into short corners paid off for us.”
Slippery Rock tried to make it a game, but it was too little too late.
The Rock took a timeout in the 53rd minute and immediately worked for a penalty corner. Brown then got a shot off, but her effort was saved by Darian Shuker (junior, business), who had two saves.
About nine minutes later, Brown got her second goal of the game off a go-ahead pass from teammate Haley Martin, in the 62nd minute, to make it 3-2.
Slippery Rock tried to break away in the waning minutes, but IUP controlled the rest of the game to come away with the 3-2 victory.
“This is a huge momentum swing for us,” Agard said. “We played well today.”
McGowan’s three goals put her at four for the season. Her three goals are the most for IUP since Jessica Kida’s (sophomore, nuclear medicine) four-goal game in the opener against Newberry College.
The Crimson Hawks, now 3-6 on the season and on a two-game winning streak, will play top-ranked Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Saturday at 7 p.m. at Miller Stadium.
“I’m really excited about Saturday because I think we’re actually coming into our own now,” Agard said.
Last season in their only matchup of the year, IUP defeated the Raiders 3-1 naturally after giving up the first goal.
If IUP does get down early on Saturday, Agard said he won’t be worried.
“We never give up,” Agard said. “We always try to execute the way we are supposed to execute. We always look at the process, not the results.”
Saturday’s keys to the game, according to Agard, are quite simple. He said the team needs to execute the way they are supposed to and play hard for all 70 minutes.
Agard said he is optimistic of his team’s chances against Shippensburg.
“Anything is possible.”