April 5, 2012

WD2 Notebook: IUP Seniors Enjoying Rewards of Turnaround

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

Corinne Miller (10 goals, 5 assists) is one of a group of six IUP seniors that have been part of a turnaround of a program that went 3-13 the season before current head coach Mindy Richmond took over.
© Anthony Shingler/IUP Sports Information

When Mindy Richmond arrived at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2008, she inherited a 3-13 team and a group of talented incoming freshmen. A lot can change in four years at a college.

Fast forward to 2012 and those freshman are seniors, leading IUP (8-1) right into the thick of the South Region playoff race with eight straight wins and a No. 12 national ranking.

"It certainly has been an experience for them," Richmond said. "The girls have had the heart and they love the sport. They've been right alongside as the program has changed. It shows now how hard they've worked."

The seniors have indeed been right there all season.

Becca Vogt is second on the team in assists (19) and third in points (29). Stephanie Bianco is third on the team with 23 goals. Corinne Miller has 10 goals and five assists. Beth Glasshagel has 11 goals and one assist. Jillian Jordan has caused eight turnovers this season, including four in Friday's big 18-17 overtime victory over Bloomsburg. The next day Jessica Beck scored what proved to be the game-winner in a key victory over East Stroudsburg.

"Six seniors that have worked so hard," Richmond said. "Our program has made huge strides over the past few years."

Those strides were evident against Bloomsburg, which entered tied with IUP at No. 15 and had just come off a huge win against West Chester. IUP trailed 15-12 midway through the second half. Glasshagel led the comeback, scoring two of IUP's three goals in the last 10:14 and forcing overtime when she tied it at 15 with 5:24 remaining, with her fifth goal of the night.

Bianco and Connie Berlin scored in the first overtime and Alexa Lodovici won it with 13 seconds remaining in the second overtime.

"We were shooting, their goalie was making big saves and [Lodovici] kind of beat one of their defenders," Richmond said. "It was beyond exciting. Going from a player to a coach, I remember playing in big games like that. It's so different being a coach on the sidelines. It's totally reliant on the players and how bad they want it. In games like that it really comes down to that. We really showed how important this season is."

IUP had no time to rest and reflect on the importance victory. Another PSAC game, against East Stroudsburg, loomed the next day. Richmond said her players were tired. But they still fought through for an 18-9 victory.

"I saw it on my players this weekend," Richmond said. "My starting midfield was absolutely exhausted. We had gone to double overtime and you could tell they were hurting. But if we're to make the postseason, that's how tournaments go. You play to games back-to-back. We have to train ourselves."

IUP is not only prepared for back-to-back games, but for close games as well. The Crimson Hawks are a perfect 3-0 in overtime this season. Last year they were 1-4 in games decided by two goals or less.

"That has added to our resilience," Richmond said. "We don't want to feel that feeling again. Three overtime games so far, it's wild but it's getting us ready for tough games. We're definitely the more experienced team when it comes to overtime, that's an advantage. Granted, I'd prefer not to go to overtime, but it's worked out for us."

IUP kept the winning going on Tuesday, defeating Edinboro (5-5), 14-6. Sophomore Connie Berlin led the way, with two goals, six ground balls and four forced turnovers. Lodovici, a junior, had five goals.

"We're losing talent with our senior class but it's a bright future," Richmond said. "It's exciting to see."

Perennial PSAC Favorites Hanging Tough

Don't look now, but Lock Haven and West Chester are still very much alive in the PSAC race.

Lock Haven (5-4) has shaken off its rough start, with four wins in its past five games and an unbeaten PSAC record. The Eagles defeated Bloomsburg, 15-10, on Saturday and Slippery Rock, 17-7, on Tuesday. They'll head to Edinboro on Friday. The big test will come during the PSAC's final week when Lock Haven heads to IUP and West Chester.

West Chester (7-1) bounced back from its loss to Bloomsburg with wins over Mercyhurst, 17-7, Gannon, 17-14, and Millersville, 18-5, this week. The Golden Rams host Shippensberg (6-3) on Friday. Their best chance to boost their playoff resume before the PSAC tournament begins April 20 is when in a span of five days they'll host Lock Haven, IUP and C.W. Post.

Top Heavy Race in Northeast-10

The PSAC race is the South's tightest, but up North its tough to top what's going on in the Northeast-10.

Three days after New Haven upset C.W. Post in overtime, Stonehill handed New Haven a one-goal loss, 13-12, on Saturday. Kelsey Reilly won it with an unassisted goal with 5:36 remaining. The sixth-ranked Skyhawks (9-1) followed that up with a 19-5 win over Franklin Pierce on Wednesday.

Playoff spots may be on the line Saturday when Stonehill, which is undefeated in the region, hosts No. 2 Adelphi (8-1).

No. 7 New Haven (9-1) bounced back from its Stonehill loss with a dominating 21-10 victory over No. 13 Dowling (4-4). The Chargers will be tested again on Saturday at No. 8 Bentley (6-4).

No. 1 Le Moyne (8-0) survived some tough games this week to remain at the top of the standings. The Dolphins defeated No. 11 Merrimack, 8-7, on Saturday and Bentley, 12-4, the next day.

Mark Macyk has covered Division II and III women’s lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine since 2011. He can be contacted at markmacyk@gmail.com.

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