Get out the sunglasses and hats as the Crimson Hawks lacrosse team soared through a 12–8 victory against the Gannon Golden Knights in Erie.
Playoffs are storming up, and this was a key win for the Hawks. The Hawks have two regular season games left: Mercyhurst and Lock Haven. The Hawks have scooped up victories against these two opponents before, but it’s that time of the year during which every team is going to give their best out on the field.
The victory against Gannon on Monday started with a 4–1 lead with four minutes into the game with Sarah Reustle’s (freshman, academic affairs) notching two goals.
“Sarah is a work horse,” coach Brenna Gallagher said. “She is defensive-minded, but her goal is to become more of an offensive threat. Being a freshman, she is looking to improve. She can be as big as an offensive threat as she is defensively, and her shot placement has been great.”
Being able to be a two-way player will only make you more stellar as you move up in years, especially in a collegiate sport. Gannon did rally back with some offense themselves, though, and made it a 7–6 lead going into the half.
The Hawks had an answer after refreshing during intermission. IUP came out flying with four straight goals from Reustle, Chantal Jimenez (freshman, biololgy), Jordan Kulp (sophomore, nursing) and Katye Zeiler (senior, exercise science) which pushed it a 10–7 lead in their favor with about 10 minutes to play.
“The first half we went up by four; our team took a seat back after,” Gallagher said. “Going into the second half, I told our team we need to think of it as if we are down 1–0. We need to go out and finish it. In the second half, offensively, our spacing was great.”
The pep talks from Gallagher really sparked a second half offensive fury just as the Hawks started out the game. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh mind to start where you left off. Gannon would rally back and make it close to the end. None other than Kulp and Jimenez tallied another two goals to cap off the 12–8 win.
As previously mentioned, this win put IUP in the driver seat to the road to the playoffs.
“If we win these next games, we can host Saturday in the first round,” Gallagher said. “[We] will be third seed if we go 1–1 in these last two games.”
The big picture is, if the Hawks manage to pick up two more victories and improve to a 7–4 overall record, they will have home-field advantage. Even if the Hawks go 1–1, they will play a lower seed and may still have a chance at home field. If the odds do not go in the Hawks’ favor and they lose the last two games, they will have to travel and most likely play a higher-seeded team.
“Our biggest thing would be consistency,” Gallagher said. “Our defense needs to be lights out. If we can play with consistency, we can control the clock and the pace of the game.”
The Hawks have had a solid season with being able to bounce back after a loss, but consistency goes a long way especially being able to make it far in the playoffs. IUP can be a dangerous team in the playoffs with the talent and the ability to bounce back. Opponents are going to have to keep an eye on the Hawks as their defense improves because in the end, an offensive- and defensive-threat team is going to be hard to beat.
“We need to come out and want it,” Kulp said. “As a team, we have everything we need to do well. We just need to follow through with our game plan, win hustle stats and take care of the ball.”
The Hawks will be ready to go against Mercyhurst on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Erie.