Soccer: IUP dumps UPJ in highest-scoring game of season

IUP junior Hannah Scardina scored her team-leading third goal of the season in Wednesday's 4-2 win over Pitt-Johnstown. 

The IUP women’s soccer team produced a season high four goals in a bounceback, road win against Pitt-Johnstown (UPJ) on Wednesday.

Four different players scored a goal apiece to lead the Crimson Hawks to the 4-2 victory. The win came on the heels of a disappointing loss to last-place Clarion last weekend.

“We were disappointed coming off the performance over the weekend,” IUP coach Noreen Herlihy said. “We knew we needed a response, and that's what we got today.”

The Hawks abundance of scoring powered them to victory as they improved to 2-1-3 on the season.

“We scored four goals, and all four were quite wonderful,” Herlihy said. “That’s definitely a bright spot, to be able to score four goals in any game.”

The Hawks jumped out to an early lead with Hannah Scardina (junior, pre-physical therapy) scoring her third goal of the year in the 10th minute.

IUP’s advantage would be short lived as MacKenzie Stephens of UPJ scored at the 26:39 mark, leaving the game tied at 1 midway through the first half.

With less than five minutes to play in the opening half, Aislinn Meaney (graduate student, sports studies) delivered the play of the game, scoring on a shot from some 40 yards out over the head of the UPJ goalkeeper. IUP wouldn’t trail again.

In addition to her highlight-reel goal, Meaney also assisted on a pair of goals.

“Aislinn scored a superb goal right before halftime which was really good for the team,” Herlihy said. “It took some pressure off going into half for sure.”

Midway through the second half, IUP scored twice in a span of 55 seconds, giving the Crimson Hawks a commanding 4-1 lead. Molly Katzmann (senior, communications media marketing) netted the first goal in the 67th minute, and Samantha Nemeth (junior, nursing) followed suit a minute later.

It was the first goal of the season for both Katzmann and Nemeth.

UPJ scored with 7:47 left in the game to make the score 4-2, but the Mountain Cats didn’t get any closer.

Despite a late rally attempt, the Hawks used their defense along with solid goalkeeping by Samantha Gildner (senior, athletic training) to hold on and get the win. Gildner made four saves in earning the win.

“We were better defensively today,” Herlihy said. “We were closing players down quicker. It’s about doing the simple things [defensively] well and efficiently all the time.”

The Hawks finished with 15 shot attempts, including 10 on goal, and three corner kicks. UPJ tallied 12 shot attempts and a whopping nine corner kicks.

Not only did the win restore the Crimson Hawks’ confidence and get them back on the winning track, it came against a team that entered the game on a three-game winning streak.

“It’s a huge confidence boost for the players,” Herlihy said. “It’s a great result on the road against a team that’s been flying as of late.”

IUP is currently tied for fourth place with Seton Hill in the PSAC West Division with nine points. The top four teams from each division qualify for the conference playoffs.

The Crimson Hawks welcome Mercyhurst on Saturday in what figures to be their biggest test of the season yet. The Lakers presently sit in first place in the PSAC West with a record of 5-1-1.

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