Through adversity, KU field hockey finds the strength to win in overtime. The Golden Bears were on a three game win streak before beating Slippery Rock University 3-2. KU improved their record to 4-7 and earned their first PSAC win of the season.
KU lost to LIU Post, Bloomsburg University and Mercyhurst University before breaking the losing streak with a nerve-racking win. Slippery Rock, ranked ninth in the region, was 6-5 and 3-0 in the conference before the Golden Bears got their claws on them. Though the win was sweet, it did not come as easy as it should have.
As the game began, KU came out looking dominant, much better than the past three games. Immediately into the first half, senior Jenna Gregory took advantage of an excellent cross from freshman Anna Behm. Only the second shot of the game and Gregory buried it into the back of the net in the first four minutes of the game.
Roughly 10 minutes later in the half, Gregory and Behm would be involved in yet another score, this time with reverse roles. With Slippery Rock unable to manage any offense strike or even a shot, KU was flying up the field, looking to take advantage of the opposition’s sluggish play. As Gregory took control of the ball, she showed her appreciation for the last pass with a bow on her own. Behm was set up with a beautiful pass right in front of the net that soared pass the defending goalie.
Slippery Rock, without a single shot in the game, needed something to stop this onslaught. With their first shot of the game, 16 minutes in the first half, Slippery Rock scored their first goal. Fortunately, this was the only goal they would score. At the end of the half, KU had six shots to their opponent’s two.
The Golden Bears had the momentum going into the half, but that did not assure goals would be scored. Even though KU out shot the Slippery Rock offense 7-6, they were not the team to score the goal. Slippery Rock would tie the game with just four minutes left. Even with the momentum switching at the end of the game, KU was relentless. Slippery Rock goalie Courtney Lee deserves all the credit for pushing the game to overtime. KU hit Lee with a barrage of shots to end the half, three to be exact.
KU needed a goal in overtime to win and avoid being winless in the PSAC. Things did not look good at first, freshmen goalie Kayla Denlinger was abused by shots for the whole first minute of the half. Three saves in a row got her out of that mess and another shot a minute later was about all she could take. KU needed to get the ball away from her.
Once the ball was cleared, who else to give it to than a freshman. Seven minutes into the overtime period, senior Imani Ferguson rocketed a pass towards Behm who would get involved for her third and final scoring play of the game.
The Golden Bears were brilliant in a game many expected them to lose. KU will face many PSAC competitors in the near future and need to play much like they did in this game. If they can keep this performance up, there is no doubt that the can beat Millersville University Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m.
By Kyle Johnson