The Gannon University women’s soccer team fell down to Earth as it lost to Slippery Rock, 1-0, Saturday. The loss moved the Knights to 8-4-4 overall, and 5-4-4 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play.
It’s only the third time this year in which Gannon has failed to record a goal.
Senior forward Amanda Sharbaugh said the result wasn’t from a lack of effort.
“We played great soccer, but it came down to who finished their opportunities,” she said.
The Knights’ leading scorer is currently tied for second in the nation with 15 goals scored.
The loss also dropped the Knights down to eighth (from seventh) in the latest Atlantic Regional rankings.
Gannon faces rival Mercyhurst this Saturday at 2 p.m. Lakers, currently with a record of 7-8-1, haven’t measured up to their success in recent years for their 2011 campaign, but the Lakers have dominated the Knights the past two decades.
In 2009, however, the Knights defeated the Lakers for the first time in the program’s 20-plus year history.
In addition, Gannon can also knock the Lakers out of playoff contention with a win. Currently, Mercyhurst has 13 points in the PSAC standings, while Gannon possesses 19. Seven teams have already clinched the conference playoffs.
“The game itself has so much meaning,” Sharbaugh said. “It’s our rival matchup. It’s our ticket into the postseason.”
The senior forward said that the team is in an exciting position.
“Winning on Saturday would be the most meaningful win to me, because not only is it a win against our rival, but it will also extend our postseason,” she said.
For Sharbaugh and the five other seniors, a loss to the Lakers is out of the question.
“There is no option,” she said. “I won’t end my soccer career with a loss to Mercyhurst. And it’s my last chance to make memories on that field.”
Sharbaugh said the team is going to play with urgency and are going to take chances.
“It’s simple: we need to find the back of the net more times than they do.”