AU Field Hockey beats Lafayette in home opener

Goalkeeper Bryn Underwood shines in career-high game

AU Field Hockey beats Lafayette in home opener

Sophomore goalkeeper Bryn Underwood

It’s not often that a midday game in the sweltering heat can be described as electric, but that was the case at the first American University field hockey home game with fans since 2019.

The Eagles (4-2) bested Lafayette College (5-2) 1-0 in an overtime battle at Saturday’s game.

After a heartbreaking double-overtime loss in the Patriot League semifinals last season, the Eagles came back refreshed, energized and, most importantly, hungry. The first quarter started with an explosive push up the field by AU, but Lafayette’s offense was equally as strong, and stayed a frustratingly even match for AU’s defense throughout the game. 

With 11:46 left in the quarter, Lafayette had their first offensive penalty corner. Sophomore goalie Bryn Underwood shined with the first of her career-high 10 saves. The Eagles’ defensive energy kept the game going, even when Lafayette nearly had the ball in the goal, taking every chance they could to strike in AU’s circle. 

The Eagles started the second quarter with an offensive push that was quickly turned over. Underwood once again saved the ball from going in, and it was quickly sent out of the circle with a hit up the field by grad student Noor Coenen. The first half went scoreless.

After a few more unsuccessful shots, Lafayette gained control of the ball, and took another shot on AU’s goal that was saved by Underwood. This time, the ball was sent out by senior Georgia Davies, and a midfield battle ensued. Underwood saved the ball once again during a Lafayette corner with six seconds left in the half.

“The thing I love about this team is their energy, you can tell they’ve been waiting for this,” said Courtney MacPherson, an AU alum who played on the field hockey team in 2011.

The second half started with yet another save by Underwood. The half was defined by an intense offensive effort by AU, with three penalty corners and a shot on goal by Coenen. With four seconds left in the fourth quarter, Underwood saved the ball on a Lafayette corner, and saved the game from ending before AU could get a goal in.

With 7:40 left in overtime, after two unsuccessful AU corners, Coenen scored the goal off an assist by Davies. The team rushed the field to celebrate, and AU beat Lafayette 1-0 in their home opener.

Head coach Steve Jennings says he wants to score earlier and pass more in the future. 

“We allowed their defense to break plays up, and I really think we were forcing the ball. We ended up going into contests, instead of away into space,” Jennings said. “If we played in space earlier and had a little more power on the ball, we would have been in a much better situation today.”

“I think our defensive unit really stepped up today. I have a lot of trust and faith in my defensive line,” Underwood said. “Today, they really showed what they can do. Maura, Charllene and Georgia all played their hearts out, and I couldn’t have done it all by myself, so I’m really proud of the rest of my team.”

largiropoulos@theeagleonline.com 

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