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Mountain Hawks fly past Eagles in a thriller

AU’s strong showing was not enough to fend off Lehigh, fall to 0-4

Update: This article has been updated to specify that AU defensive co-captain Cate Golden is out due to a knee injury.

American University’s women’s lacrosse (0-4) lost to Lehigh 12-10 (2-2) in a grueling affair Saturday, March 13. 

The first half was fast-paced and action-packed. The Eagles quickly fell behind in the first half, giving up two goals in the first five minutes, but managed to get back into the game and took a 7-5 lead into the half. The game had six lead changes, and AU was the aggressor on offense with nearly twice as many shots on goal as Lehigh in the first half. 

The Eagles’ offense dominated throughout most of the game and finished with 20 shots on goal, compared to Lehigh’s 15. AU had its most success off the free position shots, scoring on four of its seven attempts.

But the Eagles lost the lead early in the second half as Lehigh’s defense began to ground their potent attack. That defense didn’t let up — AU didn’t score for the last 13 minutes of the second period. The Mountain Hawks outscored the Eagles 7-3 in the half and took a two-goal lead with just over five minutes left to play. The Eagles had chances to cut into the Hawks’ lead but ultimately fell short.

Despite the loss, AU’s head coach Lindsay Teeters was still encouraged by the team’s performance.

“For the most part, I was really proud of how the girls played today,” Teeters said. “We struggled on Wednesday with 50-50 balls and draw controls, and I was really proud with how they did today.”

Co-captains Emma Vinall and Kendall Goldblum led the Eagles’ attack, scoring nine of the team’s 10 goals to keep AU in the game. Goldblum had struggled at the beginning of the season, going goalless in the first two games, but has caught in the last two games and scored five goals.

 Vinall has led the Eagles offense this season and has provided steady leadership despite the losing streak.

The Eagles again relied on several of their young players against Lehigh. Freshmen Emma Fiore and Lizzie de Guzman both started, sophomore Emma Hare scored her second goal of the season, and fellow freshmen Regan Hakes and Jordan Mitchell played big minutes.

Teeters said that the underclassmen have played well even though she had limited time to integrate them into the team’s system.

“We normally have a couple months with the freshmen and sophomores to implement strategy, but we didn’t have that,” Teeters said. “The abbreviated spring season has allowed these players to flourish, and I think you’ll see them come on strong as we get further into the season.”

The less experienced players may be called on to contribute even more going forward. Defensive co-captain Cate Golden will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, according to Teeters. The senior did not play in the last two games.

The Eagles also found success with the draw control, one of the team’s biggest weaknesses earlier in the season. The Eagles won 52 percent of the draws, and Vinall won 10 of AU’s 12 draw controls. 

But small mistakes did AU in. The Eagles only had 16 turnovers to the Mountain Hawks’ 18, but Lehigh forced 11 turnovers, while AU forced just seven. Lehigh took advantage and scored six goals within one minute of forcing a turnover. Defensive penalties didn’t help AU either, and Lehigh scored four more goals off of free position goals.

AU midfielders Haley Harkins and Katie Pierce shut down Lehigh goal-scorers Gabby Schneider and Sondra Dickey nearly the entire game, but Katia Carnevale carved the Eagles up all day long and scored eight goals.

AU goalie Delaney Oliveira also struggled, finishing the game with a 20 percent save rate and just three saves, bringing her average down to 29 percent this season.

Teeters said that AU made a few mistakes, but that the Eagles were on the right track.

“The team that showed up today was a lot different from our team Wednesday,” Teeters said. “It showed the team that we don’t have to focus on the opponent if we can make the small adjustments for ourselves.”

AU will look to next week for its first win of the 2021 season as the team will face Navy at home Saturday at 12 p.m. The Eagles have a 1-13 record all-time against Navy.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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