WASHINGTON - The American University field hockey team wrapped its 2017 regular season slate with a thrilling overtime victory on Sunday, outlasting Appalachian State, 3-2.
The Eagles will enter the postseason with a 13-5 overall record and 5-1 in the Patriot League to earn the No. 2 seed in the league tournament next weekend. The Mountaineers close their regular season at 8-10 overall and 3-3 in the MAC.
Junior Rafaela Rubas led the Eagles with a pair of goals, bringing her total up to three for the weekend after she scored one during the 4-3 loss to No. 13 Wake Forest on Friday. Freshman Noor Coenen also contributed a goal, her second this weekend, to continue leading the team's overall scoring efforts with 15 goals this season.
Senior Samantha McCormick posted the team's only assist of the game, and junior goalkeeper Maura Jacobs brought down a season-high seven saves off of nine shots on goal, bringing her up to 46 this season.
The Mountaineers were led by goals from Michelle Taylor and Melissa Nobile, and assists from Rebecca McLean and Taylor Cimbalist. Goalkeeper Rachel Gaines added 15 saves.
Rubas put the Eagles on the board early in the game after a shot in the fourth minute landed in the back of the cage. Appalachian State responded with a goal of their own a few minutes later, tying the game up at 1-1 for the remainder of the half.
Both teams were evenly matched through the first 35 minutes, with the Eagles putting up eight shots to Appalachian State's seven, and three corners to the Mountaineer's two. AU came back and controlled the second half, though, putting up 11 shots while Appalachian State only managed to get off five. Still, neither team was able to capitalize until the final 15 minutes of regulation, when App State's Michelle Taylor gave the Mountaineer's a one-goal advantage off an assist from McLean.
The Eagles once again showed their resilience, though, as they continued pressing the Mountaineer's defense and eventually tied the game once again after a goal from Rubas brought the score to 2-2 with less than 10 minutes in regulation.
Although AU put up another couple shots before the final whistle, the game remained tied and the Eagles were sent into their fifth overtime of the season.
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout the overtime period, with the Mountaineers gaining a pair of opportunities with back-to-back penalty corners in the early minutes before the Eagles regained control. Senior Leah DiGiandomenico led the Eagles' final push, as she put up a pair of shots in the final minute to eventually gain a penalty corner with only four seconds left on the clock. That was all the time AU needed, though, as Coenen slammed in a shot off a pass from McCormick to end the game at 3-2.
The Eagles now look toward the start of championship season, as the team heads to Boston next weekend as the No. 2 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. AU will play Bucknell at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, for a spot in the final on Sunday. For the latest on AU Field Hockey, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_FieldHockey.