By Evan McCue
The IUP Crimson Hawks set off on Friday afternoon to kick off a rather challenging duo of in-conference road games.
Friday’s game featured a matchup with a 6-2 Kutztown University Golden Bears team, ranked fourth in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). IUP found themselves in a troublesome position early on in this one, as Kutztown capitalized upon their home field advantage and struck first with a goal in just the sixth minute of the game. The Crimson Hawks were fortunate to reach the half with only a 1-0 deficit after being out-shot 12-3. Goalie Jessica Printz (senior, athletic training) came up big for the Hawks after surrendering the early goal, as she notched five first half saves. Defense continued to be the theme throughout the remainder of the game, with neither team able to find the back of the net, leaving IUP with an agonizing 1-0 loss.
Kutztown dominated the stat sheet, out-shooting IUP 15-7 and attempting 13 corner kicks compared to IUP’s three.
This game set the Crimson Hawks back to 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the PSAC. This was a crucial game for IUP as they knew they would have their hands full on their second stop of the weekend. The team headed to East Stroudsburg University just a day later to take on the defending PSAC champion and No. 4-ranked team in the nation. The Warriors entered the weekend still without a loss in the conference and an overall record of 8-1. Besides East Stroudsburg out shooting IUP 9-6, there were no advantages for either team in the first half with a score of 0-0 at the break.
However, something clicked for the Warriors offense in the second half and they began to pull away. In the 70th minute, ESU watched the first goal of the game come off the foot of their sophomore forward Alex Pickett.
About 10 minutes later in the 80th minute, they watched their second goal of the game come off the head of Pickett for her second of the game.
The Warriors ended up out-shooting the Hawks 16-4 in the second half and had seven corner kick chances while IUP had none.
A bright spot for the Crimson Hawks included a career game for goalie Jessica Printz as she grabbed 12 saves, a new career high. With their third loss in four games, IUP is now 6-5 with a 5-4 record in the PSAC, leaving them in 6th place in the conference standings. When asked about the back-to-back losses, coach Adel Heder said “The effort, the hard work, and the intensity are all there. To win games, we need one thing to score goals.” Coach Heder has a point, as IUP has been shutout in three of their last four games.
They will look to snap out of this offensive drought when they return home to take on 1-7 California University Wednesday.