Hayden nets seven goals in rout of Slippery Rock

Kim Hooven (freshman, early childhood and special education), center, runs through the pregame tunnel prior to a game against East Stroudsburg April 5. (Nick Dampman/ The Penn)

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s lacrosse team picked up its seventh consecutive victory in a 15-6 game at Slippery Rock University under the lights Tuesday night.

Drew Hayden (sophomore, special education and clinical services) was the latest Crimson Hawk player with the hot hand for a balanced IUP attack. The midfielder scored seven goals to give her 39 on the season.

“Drew is just a tremendous athlete,” head coach Mindy Richmond said. “She really has set high goals for herself.”

Richmond attributed the sophomore’s success to her exceptional work ethic and consistent play.

“She pushes herself really hard and trains really hard,” Richmond said. “I’m fully convinced that she can go out and play to her potential every game.”

Reigning Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Player of the Week Amy Weinberg (sophomore, special education and clinical services) got things started for IUP, scoring the game’s first goal on a pass from Brittney Palardy (sophomore, health and physical education).

Nearly nine minutes passed before another goal was scored when Slippery Rock’s Paige Costantino’s strike tied things up at 1-1.

Michelle Zakrzewski (senior, health and physical education) quickly answered with a goal of her own to give IUP the lead and started a 5-0 IUP run that featured two Hayden goals to break the game wide open.

Morgan Pettit strung together back-to-back goals for the Rock, but the Crimson Hawks again answered with another three quick goals before halftime to take a 9-3 lead into the locker room.

Kim Hooven’s (freshman, early childhood and special education) third goal opened the second-half scoring nearly seven minutes after the break.

Costantino again scored to get the Rock within six goals at 10-4, but the Crimson Hawks put together another three goals to go up 13-4.

Hayden and Palardy finished off the scoring, netting unassisted goals to secure the 15-6 victory.

“Slippery Rock is always a really huge rivalry for us, and they always bring their best game,” Richmond said. “We really wanted to have a lot of intensity and play a full 60 minutes.”

The Crimson Hawks again dominated the state lines, outshooting Slippery Rock 43-18 and forcing 15 Rock saves.

The defense forced 26 turnovers. Goalkeeper Katie Davis (senior, interior design) recorded five saves in the net.

“The defense is veterans,” Richmond said. “They’re a really great working unit. They’ve kind of have mastered our style of defense.”

The Crimson Hawks, who remained in the No. 7 spot in this week’s Division II rankings, return to action Saturday when they travel to Kutztown University. The Golden Bears sport a PSAC-worst 1-6 conference record (3-8 overall).

Keeping the team focused on Kutztown is key for the Crimson Hawks, with a pivotal home matchup with Mercyhurst University Tuesday. Mercyhurst, which lost 10-8 in overtime Wednesday to Lock Haven University, is in a three-way tie for second place in the PSAC with a 5-1 conference record.

“To be completely honest, we’re thinking about Tuesday,” Richmond said. “We’ve been talking about Mercyhurst for the last few months. We know it’s going to be a battle.”

Richmond said the team, however, is focused on getting a win at Kutztown. She also hopes for a lot of players to gain valuable playing time against Kutztown.

With only five games left in the season against Kutztown, Mercyhurst, Shippensburg University, West Chester University and Bloomsburg University, Hayden is quickly closing in on a Crimson Hawks single-season scoring record.

In 2013 former IUP great Alex Lodovici scored a program-high 55 goals. If Hayden were to average 6.0 goals over the last five games, she would shatter Lodovici’s mark with 69 goals in one season.