KUTZTOWN, Pa. – The fourth-ranked Kutztown University women’s soccer team found its offensive firepower that had led it to a 13-game win streak to open up the regular season. Three first-half goals gave the Golden Bears a 3-1 victory Saturday afternoon against Seton Hill University in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) game on senior day at Keystone Field.
Kutztown (14-2 overall, 12-2 PSAC) stopped a two-game skid that included shutout losses to Indiana University (PA) and East Stroudsburg University over the last week, as it walked away with a win in the final regular season home game for seniors Morgan Staley (Landenberg, Pa./Kennett) and Hannah Oren (Wind Gap, Pa./Nazareth Area).
But the KU offense was helped out right away from one of its two seniors that was honored prior to the contest.
Senior defender Staley put the Maroon and Gold on top
just 1:25into the game on a header inside the six-yard box off a corner kick by freshman Randi Smith (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Valley).
It was the fastest goal scored to start a game this year, and the first goal scored by Kutztown since it tallied six against Mansfield University on Oct. 13.
“It was huge for us to get off that scoring slump we had,” Staley said. “It’s all the credit to our team. Our attitude coming in was what propelled us all. Our mentality is to play as a unit, like a family that we are. We executed the game plan and that is what helped us.”
Smith was a part of KU’s second goal as well, delivering a low pass in front of the Griffins (11-5-1, 9-5-1) net that was met by the right foot of junior captain Alyssa Ryan (North Wales, Pa./Wissahickon). Ryan’s fourth goal of the season gave KU a comfortable two-goal lead with just over 13 minutes in.
Smith is tied for the team-lead in assists with six, and is second in the PSAC.
In the 25th minute, leading scorer Emily Zwiercan (Reinholds, Pa./Cocalico) added a third Golden Bears goal in eye-catching fashion.
After a Seton Hill defender cleared away a cross inside the 18-yard box, Zwiercan collected and unleashed a rocket-shot that had no chance of being saved as it ripped into the back of the net for a 3-0 advantage. It was Zwiercan’s 12th goal of the year, which puts her second in the conference.
Kutztown’s PSAC-leading offense added three to its total of 47 on the season, which is good for fifth in program history for goals in a season.
“It felt great for our offense,” said Oren. “We knew the last two games we’ve been off, and it’s been frustrating for everyone because we know what we want to do and we weren’t able to. Getting the three goals so early today was uplifting for the team, and we needed that moving forward.”
Seton Hill chipped away, tallying a goal in the 34th minute, but the KU defense and sophomore goalie Jenna Bracken (Wanaque, N.J./Lakeland Regional) kept the remainder of the game scoreless. Bracken finished with one save.
PSAC-leading goal scorer Emily LoPresti (15 goals) was held without a goal, and had just one shot on net.
The Golden Bears had a 14-8 shots advantage, with a 9-2 edge in shots on goal.
Head coach Erik Burstein was able to use 20 different players in the lineup, and send off his two seniors with a victory in the last home regular season game at Keystone Field.
“It’s always tough playing the last of something,” said Staley. “But being home is always a great feeling and having everyone here supporting us, there’s nothing like it. There was more excitement than sadness coming into this one.”
Kutztown hits the road for its final two regular-season contests, beginning with a game at Bloomsburg University (9-4-2, 8-4-2) Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. As it stands now, the Huskies are in 8th place in the PSAC, and the game on Wednesday night could be a potential rematch in the PSAC quarterfinals on Tuesday, Oct. 31.