No. 21 @AU_FieldHockey Opens 2017 with Thrilling Win Over Richmond

No. 21 @AU_FieldHockey Opens 2017 with Thrilling Win Over Richmond

WASHINGTON – The American University field hockey team opened its 2017 campaign in dramatic fashion on Friday, overcoming a first half deficit against Richmond before clinching the 5-4 victory in overtime.

The Eagles (1-0, 0-0 PL) will make a quick turnaround as they head into their second game of the season on Sunday with a noon start at Old Dominion.

"What an amazing performance from both teams today," head coach Steve Jennings said. "The drama went to another level in the second half with each team feeling like they had momentum that was going to carry the day. I am so proud of our fight and resilience – it took a total team effort to get the win."

Although the Eagles put up a pair of early shots with junior Rafaela Rubas and freshman Noor Coenen getting looks within the first two minutes, the Spiders were first on the board after junior Olivia Hubert put away a rebound after a penalty corner midway through the half.

AU put the pressure on Richmond in the final six minutes of the half with shots from seniors Haley Bowcutt, Samantha McCormick, and Leah DiGiandomenico, but the team was unable to get on the board and entered halftime with a 1-0 deficit.

The Eagles charged into the second half, hitting a pair of quick goals to gain a one-point advantage over Richmond. Sophomore Kathryn Roncoroni was first to get on the board, netting her only goal of the game less than 30 seconds after the whistle. Rubas followed less than three minutes later off of an assist from Samantha McCormick.

Richmond responded a few minutes later with a long shot from freshman Florentine Beelaerts van Blockland to tie the game at 2-2 with 20 minutes left in regulation.

The back-and-forth continued throughout the rest of the half, with Richmond regaining its one-point edge before DiGiandomenico tied the game back up at 3-3 and a second goal from Rubas put the Eagles up by one with less than ten minutes left.

With five minutes left in regulation, the Spiders drew level with AU at 4-4, sending the game into overtime where a late goal from Samantha McCormick, assisted by senior Anne Waverly Spencer, finally secured the AU win.

The Eagles will be back on the road on Sunday with a trip to Norfolk, Va., where they will face Old Dominion at noon at the L.R. Hill Sports Complex.

For the latest on American Field Hockey, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_FieldHockey.