WASHINGTON – For the second consecutive game, it was a late push by the No. 25 American University field hockey team that made all the difference, as the Eagles defended their home turf with a 3-2 overtime win over Longwood on Sunday.
This was the second home win of the weekend for the Eagles, who defeated Holy Cross on Saturday with another 3-2 final score. AU now sits at 9-3 for the season (3-0 PL) while the Lancers fall to 9-2 overall (2-0 MAC).
Senior Haley Bowcutt and junior Rafaela Rubas put away both goals for AU during regulation, but it was junior defender Annaka Groschinski who secured the game-winner with the golden goal in extra time. This was only the second career goal for Groschinski, who also opened scoring for the Eagles on Saturday against Holy Cross with her first goal in the red, white and blue.
Junior goalkeeper Maura Jacobs closed the day with five saves, bringing her tally up to 29 for the season.
The Lancers were led by goals from Edel Nyland and Leonie Verstraete, and six saves for goalkeeper Katie Wyman.
Much like Saturday's match against the Crusaders, AU had a slow start to the match on Sunday with only one penalty corner opportunity in the first half and a scoreless game heading into the break.
Bowcutt was the first to get on the board as she broke her four-game dry spell with a goal off a breakaway run from midfield in the 49th minute.
Longwood tied the game 10 minutes later with a rocket from the right side of the circle from Edel Nyland. The Lancers continued to press and nearly gained a one-point advantage after a pair of quick shots were beautifully saved by AU's Jacobs.
The Eagles regained momentum and pushed back into Lancer territory where they drew a key penalty corner in the 64th minute. Groschinski took the insertion from senior Anne Waverly Spencer and fed the ball to Rubas who redirected for the goal to put the Eagles ahead, 2-1, with six minutes left in regulation.
AU was able to wind down most of the clock in Longwood's half, but a final breakaway from the Lancers landed them with a pair of penalty corners as the game clock hit the end of regulation. Longwood ran nearly identical plays with both corners, with Nyland inserting the ball to Leonie Verstraete. It was the second opportunity, though, that tied the game up and sent the Eagles into their third overtime period of the season.
Playing down a player after a yellow card sent freshman Noor Coenen to the sidelines with three minutes left in regulation, the Eagles were still able to set the pace immediately in extra time. Within two minutes, AU was awarded its first of two penalty corners, where Groschinski put up a shot off an insertion from Rubas.
The blocked shot landed AU with another penalty corner opportunity, where Rubas was able to get a shot past the Longwood goalkeeper. A good defensive save from a Lancer defender kept the ball in play, though, and Groschinski reacted well and put away the rebound from the far corner to secure the game-winning goal.
The Eagles now embark on a three-game road swing, traveling to Boston University on Saturday, Oct. 7, to take on the only other undefeated team in the Patriot League, followed by games at Brown and Colgate on Oct. 8 and Oct. 14, respectively.
AU will return home on Saturday, Oct. 21, to host Lafayette for senior day and alumnae day.
For the latest on AU Field Hockey, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_FieldHockey.