ANNA CROLL/EAGLE FILE PHOTO
Last season, the AU field hockey team had a great start to the season, winning 15 games in a row en route to a program best 20-2 record. However, the 2006 season started out with a rough California road trip, as the Eagles lost their first two games, each in overtime by a score of 4-3, before salvaging a 4-3 overtime victory over Stanford on Tuesday.
The Eagles entered their first game on Saturday against Cal, ranked sixth in the nation, and got off to a fast start when senior Heidi Hershberger scored just over four minutes into the game. However, Cal tied the game in the 14th minute and took the lead just two minutes into the second half.
AU tied the game 10 minutes later on the first goal of freshman Savannah Graybill’s career, but the celebration was short lived as junior defender Denise Infante was given a red card and ejected from the game with 12:33 remaining.
A player down, the Eagles took the lead with just under six minutes left on Graybill’s second goal of the game. The lead didn’t last long as Cal tied the game less than a minute later. Neither team scored for the rest of regulation, and the game remained scoreless through two overtime periods. In the shootout, Cal outscored AU 4-2 to win the game.
The Eagles again got off to a fast start on Sunday against Pacific, but Vianney Campos proved to be too much, scoring all four of her team’s goals to lead Pacific to a 4-3 overtime victory.
Sophomore Irene Schickhardt scored her first goal of the season eight minutes into the game. Graybill added a goal with five minutes left in the half. However, Campos scored two goals in the first three minutes of the second half to tie the game up.
The score remained knotted at two until Campos scored her third goal with only 29 seconds left in regulation. However, the Eagles quickly tied it up when Graybill scored her second goal of the game with 13 seconds remaining. Campos scored the game winner in overtime in the 82nd minute.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the loss,” said head coach Steve Jennings in an interview with AUEagles.com on Sunday. “We have some structural things to work on, but once we work on those things, we’ll be alright.”
The Eagles bounced back on Tuesday to defeat Stanford 4-3 in overtime. Schickhardt scored two first half goals, including one with just six seconds remaining, to give the team a 2-1 lead.
The Eagles took a 3-1 lead on a goal by Infante, but gave up the lead when Stanford scored two goals in less than three minutes. Neither team scored until Infante won the game in the 113th minute off an assist from Schickhardt. Goalie Allison Fayfich made four saves in the victory.
Despite the rough start to the season, Graybill’s contributions in the first two games were recognized by league officials, as she was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. She led the league with four goals and eight points through Sunday’s games.
“Savannah had an amazing start to her college career and I think she really deserves the award,” Steve Jennings said in an interview with AUEagles.com Tuesday. “She was really clutch with several big-time goals that she had to do a lot of work to earn. Hopefully she’ll be able to give us even more in future games.”
The Eagles will compete in Philadelphia at the Temple Tournament this weekend. Their first home game is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 against Towson.