IUP field hockey top Griffins to hit .500

(Nick Dampman/ The Penn)

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s field hockey defeated Seton Hill University 2-1 in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference game Saturday night at George P. Miller Stadium.

The win pushed IUP’s record to 5-5 (4-4 in the PSAC) on the season.

After losing their first four games, the Crimson Hawks have now won five of their last six games, vaulting themselves into fifth place in the 11-team conference.

IUP head coach Gary Agard explained his team’s turnaround.

“We made adjustments,” he said. “We started playing seniors in different positions, and right now, it’s really working for us. We’re always adjusting.”

IUP opened the scoring at 22:46 of the first half, taking a lead with a goal by forward Chelsea Wanamaker (senior, psychology).

The Crimson Hawks dominated play throughout the majority of the first half, yet went into the intermission ahead only 1-0.

In the second half, Seton Hill’s Brittany Davis evened the score on a great individual effort, slashing through several defenders before knocking the ball into the cage. IUP, however, was not intimidated, and Haley Fidler (sophomore, exercise science) scored less than four minutes later to retake the lead.

Madelyn Mullen (freshman, marketing) assisted on the goal. The 2-1 lead continued despite several quality scoring chances for the Griffins.

The first goal prompted some controversy, as Wanamaker’s shot came from outside the penalty circle.

Seton Hill’s goalkeeper didn’t play the ball, allowing it to enter the net.

In field hockey, any shot from outside the circle cannot result in a goal unless it is first touched inside the circle by a player from either team.

The referee allowed the goal, ruling that a Seton Hill player had made contact with the ball. The Griffins went on to protest the call.

However, Seton Hill’s arguments could not reverse her decision, and the goal stood.

The Crimson Hawks played strongly in their own defensive end of the field, allowing two shots on goal throughout the game while recording seven of their own and attempting another nine.

IUP’s goalkeepers split the game, as Darian Shuker (senior, business) played the first half – recording one save – before Alyssa Lerda (sophomore, earth and space science) relieved her in the second half.

In a game that featured seven yellow cards, the Crimson Hawks refused to allow the extracurricular activities to interfere with their performance.

“Both teams played aggressive,” Agard said. “But we did a good job not [engaging].”

If the PSAC playoffs were to start today, IUP would claim the No. 5 seed. Six teams advance to the playoffs.

However, with seven games remaining – all of them within the conference – the Crimson Hawks can improve their position if they continue to play smart and work hard.

Agard expressed optimism.

“We always have hopes for the playoffs,” he said.