The University of Scranton women's soccer team knew it faced a tough challenge on Tuesday night against Penn State-Berks, the top scoring team in the country. The Royals slowed the Lions' attack, but not quite enough as they suffered their first loss of the season, 1-0, at Weiss Field.
Scranton (13-1-2) saw its unbeaten streak to start the season halted at 15 games. It was the program's best start since 2003 when the Royals opened the season 22-0-1 before falling in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
PSU-Berks (12-3-2) scored the only goal of the match in the 16th minute on a goal by Caitlin Golden, which was her 35th of the season, the most in NCAA Division III.
For the rest of the night, the Royals slowed the PSU-Berks offense, which entered the night leading the country in scoring at 6.19 goals per game. Golden's goal was the team's 100th of the season, but the only one the Lions would muster against the Scranton defense.
Both teams had chances to add to the scoreboard. Scranton hit each post in the first half, the first in the 14th minute when a shot by senior forward Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) was tipped by the Lions' goalkeeper and hit the right post.
In the 42nd minute, Scranton freshman forward Jessica Letherbarrow (Westtown, N.Y./John S. Burke Catholic) rang a shot off the left post after beating a pair of defenders on the right wing.
PSU-Berks missed a chance to double its lead in the 74th minute when Royals' senior goalkeeper Colleen Berry (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) got her fingers on a shot that then hit the left post squarely before bounding away.
Both teams finished with nine shots. Berry made four saves for Scranton, her eighth game of the season and fourth straight with four or more stops. Each team finished with two corner kicks.
Scranton will wrap up its regular season on Saturday, Oct. 27, when the Royals host Juniata in a Landmark Conference match at 4 p.m. at Weiss Field. Prior to kickoff, the team will honor its seniors with a Senior Day ceremony.