Strong Second Half Lifts @AU_FieldHockey Over Holy Cross

Junior Annaka Groschinski

WASHINGTON – The No. 25 American University field hockey team remains undefeated in Patriot League play after the Eagles tallied a late 3-2 win over Holy Cross on Saturday.                                                

This was the first league loss for the Crusaders, who now fall to 5-6 overall and 2-1 in the PL. AU, on the other hand, rises to 8-3 overall and 3-0 in the conference.

Three Eagles contributed to the team's scoring efforts, starting with junior defender Annaka Groschinski who hit her first career goal to put AU on the board in the second half. Freshman Noor Coenen added another to take over as the leading scorer for the team with eight goals so far this season. And it was junior Rafaela Rubas who hit the game-winner with her sixth goal of the season.

Junior Rachel Stefano and senior Haley Bowcutt each contributed assists, while junior goalkeeper Maura Jacobs clinched a pair of saves.

For the first time this season, the Eagles were unable to secure a penalty corner in the first half. They returned, though, to take five in the second half to surpass their season-low of three from the Sept. 8 game against No. 9 Louisville.

For the Crusaders, Emily Loprete and Maureen Connolly each contributed goals while goalkeeper Marcia LaPlante ended with eight saves.

Although the Eagles had a few early opportunities in front of Holy Cross' net, the Crusaders were the first to get on the board with a goal from Connolly in the eighth minute.

AU continued to lay on the pressure with sophomore Kathryn Roncoroni getting off a couple of shots before Holy Cross bumped up to a two-goal lead after Loprete netted a cross from Suzanne Noone.

Despite some good looks from Coenen and senior Leah DiGiandomenico, the Eagles were unable to close the gap until 15 minutes into the second half, when Groschinski became the third player in as many weeks to hit a first career goal off a penalty corner from Bowcutt and Stefano.

Coenen tied the game less than ten minutes later, picking the ball up after a scramble in front of the net before slamming it into the lower left corner of the cage. 

The game-winner came with less than eight minutes left in the game when a foul on Coenen brought Rubas to the line for a penalty stroke. A nice shot into the right side of the cage gave the Eagles their final one-goal lead.

AU will make a quick turnaround as they are set to return to Jacobs Field on Sunday for a 1 p.m. contest against Longwood. For the latest on AU Field Hockey, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_FieldHockey.