Field hockey finishes regular season with win over Lafayette, advance to Patriot League tournament
Senior Noor Coenen lead AU to victory in overtime with pair of goals
“I would have liked for us to have better connection, play the easy ball earlier so we’d be able to string together more possessions and more runs,” AU head coach Steve Jennings said. “I think we tried to do a lot of difficult things today, and when the difficult things weren’t working, that led us to feel frustrated and disconnected, so that’s something we need to work on this week.”
The game opened with both teams making determined offensive runs. Just five minutes into the contest, senior Noor Coenen took two shots on the Lafayette goal, the second of which went in for her second goal of the season.
But Lafayette fired right back, scoring on an uncontested shot from an offensive corner with 16 seconds left in the quarter. Both the Eagles and Leopards played efficiently on offense, taking consistent shots on goal, spending less time in midfield battles and making use of the full field.
The second quarter opened with an offensive run by Lafayette, but AU’s defense stepped up to keep the ball at midfield. Several minutes into the quarter, AU made a run up the field and junior Aidan Rossman took a shot at the top-left corner of the goal, scoring and giving the Eagles a 2-1 advantage before the half. The game turned into a midfield battle after the shot, with a couple of corners throughout the rest of the quarter. With 57 seconds to go in the second quarter, freshman goalie Bryn Underwood slid out of the goal to deflect a hard shot from Lafayette’s Molly McAndrew.
AU kicked the third quarter off with a run up the field, and though Lafayette countered with a run of its own, the Eagles were able to defend Lafayette’s shots on goal and keep their 2-1 lead. After taking an offensive corner with 5:15 left to go in the third quarter, Lafayette tied the game up once again off of a shot from Lafayette’s Audrey Sawers. However, the Eagles stared this tied game straight in the eye and knew what they had to do to win.
The game went into overtime, following a scoreless fourth quarter, marking AU’s third overtime contest in its last four games. The first overtime also went scoreless with a midfield battle, but in the second overtime, AU had an offensive corner that led to a penalty stroke. With 4:12 left to go in the game, Coenen scored her second goal of the game and sealed the victory for the Eagles.
“Noor scored two goals, including the game winner. She was really, really big for us. I also think Kendall played a huge role for us today on the left midfield side; she did a great amount of work,” Jennings said. “In the deep defense I thought all three starters [Maura Phelan, Georgia Davies and Charllene Boshoff] were really, really strong. They were fantastic today.”
“We all know that if we don’t play a better match, then we’re probably going to be going home, so the pressure’s on for us to play more to our potential and our strengths,” he added. “It’s super exciting to be in the postseason, and really, at the end of the day, we’ve gotta take it one day at a time, but we have high aspirations for what this team can do, and we’re excited to be going to the conference championship.”