Video Highlights: Field Hockey Drops Heartbreaker to #4 Princeton, 3-2

Savannah Graybill
Savannah Graybill

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The American University field hockey team lost in heartbreaking fashion Sunday afternoon to #4 Princeton, 3-2, as the Tigers scored two goals in the final 10-plus minutes to overcome a 2-1 deficit at Jacobs Field. Princeton's Kathleen Sharkey was credited with the game-winner, scoring with just 54 seconds left on the clock.

Princeton (10-2, 3-0) was able to pressure American's (6-6, 2-0) defense in the game's first 10 minutes but goalkeeper Alyssa Poorman came up with two stellar saves to turn the Tigers away. Despite the quick start by Princeton, it was the Eagles who got on the board first, scoring off a penalty corner in the 13th minute. Anne van Erp inserted the corner to ts/w-fieldh/2009-10/bios/gebhart_kirstin00.html">Kirstin Gebhart at the top of the circle where she left the ball for Anne-Meike de Wiljes. The senior sent a screaming shot into the lower left of the cage, putting American on top, 1-0.

The Eagles' lead was short lived, however, as Princeton answered back less than three minutes later. Off a broken corner, Kathleen Sharkey sent a pass across the circle to Michelle Cesan at the left post who was able to deflect the ball past Poorman to even the game, 1-1. The Tigers nearly struck again in the 19th minute with a Christina Bortz shot but Poorman was in position to make the save, her third of the frame. Neither team was able to put a shot on goal over the final 15 minutes of the half and the teams went into the intermission tied, 1-1.

American began the second half quickly, scoring its second goal on the opening possession. On the play, Gebhart sent a long pass up the field through the Princeton defense to Melissa Casale in front of the cage. Casale then tipped the ball over to Savannah Graybill at the left post where she put a one-timer past Princeton goalkeeper Jennifer King, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead.

American turned up its defensive intensity following the score, negating two Princeton scoring opportunities to preserve the lead. Off a Tigers penalty corner in the 45th minute, Tatum Dyer forced Princeton's Katie Reinprecht off a shot from the top of the circle and sent her dribbling to the right. Reinprecht was able to find a teammate on the right baseline for a difficult angled shot but Poorman was in position to make the save, ending the threat. Poorman came up with two more saves in the 48th minute, stopping a shot from the top of the circle on a corner attempt and then recovering to make a save on the rebound.

Princeton's continued pressure on the circle finally paid off in the 60th minute as Bortz put a one-timer into the far post from the right baseline to even the score at two apiece. The game seemed to be heading into overtime following the goal as the teams traded possession back and forth but a last minute effort by the Tigers allowed them to steal the victory.

Princeton played a long pass out of its defensive end to midfield where Reinprecht received the ball and drove it towards the American cage. Once inside the circle, Reinprecht slipped a pass to Sharkey on the left side who sent a low shot to the near post, giving the Tigers their final 3-2 margin.

"We tried to look for open the spaces in the midfield and we needed to be really strong in how we defended their midfield and I think for the most part we did a really good job of that," Head Coach Steve Jennings commented during his postgame interview with Eagles Vision TV. "To their credit they were able to break through at the end and take the lead. We definitely were expecting their best and they proved that they are a great team."

American will take to the field again on Saturday, Oct. 17, as the Eagles visit Bucknell for a 10 a.m. start. Fans can watch the game live on Bucknell's website and follow live stats by clicking here.