By Lee Finkelstein
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Junior goalie Kayla had one of the best games of her career on Saturday. She saved a potential game-tying penalty stroke and led the Golden Bear defense, which was able to hold Mercyhurst University scoreless in the second half as the Kutztown University field hockey team defeated the Lakers with a final score of 3-2 at University Field.
Mercyhurst started the game strong and handed KU an early 2-1 lead in the first half, scoring both of their goals off of rebounds following Denlinger saves. Kutztown retaliated and scored on its first shot attempt of the game in the 23rd minute, a penalty stroke goal and a first career goal from Morgan Aldinger.
KU came out of the locker room with a different attitude as they began to push themselves forward and score the game-tying and eventual game-winning goal within three minutes of each other.
Mercyhurst was forced to play a man-down because a yellow card was thrown just over a minute into the second half. Anna Behm and the Golden Bears took advantage and tied the game at 2-2 in the 43rd minute from a Courtney Konowal Assist.
Three minutes later in the 45th minute, Madison was able to connect with the back of the net off of a rebound to give Kutztown the lead.
Along with a defensive save by Fink with less than five minutes to play, one of the more notable plays of the game was on the Mercyhurst penalty stroke attempt in the 60th minute. With KU still holding on to its 3-2 lead, Denlinger read Andrea Goldbach’s attempt and made a diving save to her right to keep the ball out of the goal.
“Our defense really took control whenever Mercyhurst got inside the circle,” Scheuing said. “Rayann played a phenomenal game today. We call her the ‘Brick Wall’ back there, and she stepped up big for us and came up with some important balls out there.”
The Golden Bears move to 5-4 for a tie for fifth in the standings with East Stroudsburg. The Lakers fall to 4-5 and 2-3 in the PSAC as Kutztown now holds the very important tiebreaker over a potential championship contender.
The Golden Bears remain home and play on Friday, Oct. 10 against Limestone College beginning at 4 p.m. KU defeated the Saints 3-0 last year at University Field.