Colonials fell Eagles in a shootout
The Eagles battled through adversity but draw control and defense doom the Eagles
The American University lacrosse team (0-3) lost to George Washington University (2-1) 17-16 in a dramatic game with lots of goals scored, a controversial late goal and a wild finish.
The game started well for the Eagles. AU jumped out to a quick two-goal lead in the first five minutes of the first period, thanks to goals from seniors Emma Vinall and Casey Harkins. However, the Eagles quickly lost the lead and fell behind 9-6 with nine minutes left to play in the first.
AU fought back, and thanks to goals from Stefanie Walsh, Erica Skowron and a pair from Emma Vinall at the end of the half, AU closed the period down 10-9.
The game was fast-paced from the start and never slowed. The teams combined for 57 shots on goal and scored a goal at a pace of one goal every other minute. The performance marked an upswing in the Eagles’ offensive output, as AU made 53 percent of its total shots after averaging just 38 percent over its first two games.
The scoring didn’t stop once the second period began. AU retook the lead with 23 minutes to play, but quickly stumbled and fell behind 16-12 with just over 11 minutes to play in the final period. AU cut into the deficit again, but another GW goal gave the Colonials a 17-15 lead with less than five minutes to play. Then the competition really heated up.
Harkins, who is AU’s all-time assists leader, had been on fire from the corner all game, and scored with 2:21 left to play to cut the score to win. The goal was controversial, though, and officials had to discuss the call. The shot looked like it hadn’t gone in the net, which GW goalie Megan Patrick argued vociferously.
The officials ultimately called the odd play a goal, discovering that the ball had passed through a large hole in the net. Patrick’s protest would ultimately be moot, as GW held on to win after she deflected a last-second shot from AU midfielder Katie Pierce. Despite the loss, first-year head coach Lindsay Teeters was happy with her team's performance.
“I was pleased with the amount of goals we put on the board, and just making sure that we keep working as a unit,” Teeters said.
Vinall and Harkins led the Eagles attack with five goals each, co-captain Kendall Goldblum scored her first goal of the season, and freshman Regan Hakes scored the first goal of her collegiate career.
Vinall is now 21 goals and 20 points away from the AU all-time-goals and points record. Vinall leads the team in goals, points, and shots.
Teeters went to her younger players in Hakes, Lizzie de Guzman and Emma Fiore over the first three games, and they have delivered. She said that the young players would have to continue to step up and help win games going forward.
“It’s really important for us to continue to spread the wealth,” Teeters said. “I’m proud of the fact that we put 16 points on the board.”
But several costly errors doomed the Eagles. AU repeatedly failed to win the draw control throughout the game, losing 21 of the 35 draws. The Eagles could not stop GW midfielder Abby Carlin, who won seven draw controls. AU’s draw control issues have become a theme early in the season, with an average 40 percent win rate on the year.
The game against GW came down to a draw control. With 2:55 left in the game and the Eagles down by one, AU got the ball off the draw; however, a decisive turnover allowed GW to burn the clock and leave the Eagles with only 25 seconds left to score.
The late turnover and the draw control were not solely responsible for the Eagles loss. The Eagles defense left goalie Delaney Oliveira vulnerable throughout the game, despite her strong performance. Oliveira, who finished the game with a 43 percent save rate, made numerous miraculous saves to keep AU in the game.
However, the Eagles defense couldn’t come up with ground balls at crucial moments, and gave GW second-chance opportunities. On four separate possessions, GW had three or more shots within a two-minute period, and AU gave up a goal in all four situations.
“That was exactly what we talked about at the end of the game and it’s what we talked about in the middle game,” Teeters said. “The second-chance opportunities put us in a tough position today.”
AU’s defense also could not stop GW attacker Ioanna Mantzouratos, who finished the game with five goals and nine shots on goal.
AU sets its sights on Lehigh Saturday, March 13. Teeters said she is heading into the game confident and ready to take on the Patriot League rival.
“Our out-of-conference play was to help prepare us for our tough conference opponent,” Teeters said. “Each game we’re growing and learning, and if we muscle our way through some of those things, I think we’ll be in a better position come Saturday.”