Mullins
SRU

KUTZTOWN, Pa. -- Slippery Rock handed Kutztown a 2-1 defeat in the second round of the NCAA tournament Sunday. The win gives SRU its first berth into the third round.

Slippery Rock, which improved to 16-4-2 on the year, will face California (Pa.) in the third round Friday. The East Region’s top seed will host the third and fourth rounds. Bridgeport, which was the No. 1 seed in the nation, lost in a penalty kick shootout Sunday.

Kutztown finishes the 2011 season with a record of 16-6-0.

Slippery Rock switched its game plan heading into Sunday’s second-round match and went with a defensive-minded approach of playing from the back and countering.

The plan worked to perfection, as The Rock scored both of its goals on the counter and did not concede until Kutztown was awarded a penalty kick with just nine seconds left in the match.

The Golden Bears finished the game with advantages of 14-9 in total shots, 9-7 in shots on goal and 14-0 in corner kicks.

Kara Mullins and Shelby Ward each tallied goals for Slippery Rock and Lucy Hannon and Mullins picked up assists.

Lisa Rodgers was impressive between the posts, recording eight saves and only allowing the penalty kick goal with nine seconds remaining.

Her counterpart, Casey Behrendt, made five saves and allowed two goals in the loss. Carolynne Kahl took the penalty kick and scored for the lone goal of the game for the hosts.

Sunday’s win avenged two previous losses to Kutztown this season after the Golden Bears defeated SRU 1-0 in the regular season and 4-0 in the PSAC semifinals.

The win also gives Slippery Rock its first berth in the NCAA third round, while Kutztown remains in search of its first NCAA win after reaching the playoffs in each of the last three years.

Mullins, who did  not play in Friday’s opening-round game, put Slippery Rock on the board in the 18th minute when she finished a crossing pass from Hannon from the right wing off the counter.

That tally stood until the halftime break with The Rock leading 1-0 and owning a 4-1 advantage in shots on goal. Kuztown had five corner kicks in the first half, but could only manage one shot on target.

Ward added the insurance tally and the eventual game-winner in the 69th minute when she used her speed down the middle of the field to get position in the box and finished a cross from Mullins into the left side of the net.

Kutztown put the pressure on from there, firing eight shots on target in the period and being awarded nine corner kicks, but Rodgers was up to the task, saving everything put the penalty kick to end the game.