The first PL fixture was nothing short of a relentless showdown between two rival universities. When it appeared that AU would leave Reeves Field with a victory under its belt, the Crusaders leveled the score near the end of regulation time to make for some late-game theatrics. The Eagles picked up one point in the conference standings with the draw.
The Eagles dominated the first 45 minutes and controlled the offensive action with 59 percent of total possession. The score remained 0-0 until the game’s latter half when senior forward Tate Jordan caught Holy Cross’ goalkeeper flat-footed in the 59th minute. The goal came from a perfectly weighted cross from junior outside back Natalie Oliver, who picked up her first assist of the season.
To AU’s detriment, the Crusaders responded in the 86th minute after Brooke Robinson’s free kick beat the hands of freshman goalie Julia Kato. The late heroics sent the match into double overtime, but another 20 minutes of playing didn’t make a difference for either side.
“I think that we started strong, [but] we have to be able to pull together a full 90,” Jordan said postgame. “This game showed us that we have to just come out a lot stronger from the beginning and really be able to finish what we started.”
The Eagles seemed to drop off after Holy Cross scored the late goal, while also failing to capitalize on scoring opportunities of their own.
“We didn't score enough,” head coach Marsha Harper said. “We were able to put one in the back of the net, but for the amount of times that we got into the attacking third, we didn't produce. We need to finish those opportunities in order to be [the] championship team we say we want to be.”
AU came close to scoring the game-winner with only two minutes left to play in the second half of overtime. Jordan nearly snuck one past first-year goalkeeper Olivia Dubin after making a clever run behind Holy Cross’ backline, but the shot was saved.
“I think today we were our own worst enemy,” Jordan said. “What it comes down to, just try and come out as strong as we can [and] we didn't do that today.”
The game may not have ended in defeat for the Eagles, but the result did not reflect AU’s performance on the pitch, Harper said.
“Although we came away with a point, it feels like our bottom,” Harper said. “So it's motivation enough to know that we need to do better and we will do better moving forward.”
The Eagles will continue the Patriot League action and will travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to face off against Bucknell University today at 7:00 p.m ET.