Field hockey comes back against William & Mary to win on senior day
Senior Megan Hoffman scored the game winner to finish the regular season
The American University Eagles (9-6) defeated the William & Mary Tribe (9-8) 2-1 on Saturday Oct. 29. Freshman forward Frederiek Thierry and senior forward Megan Hoffman scored to close out the regular season with a win.
Before the game began, a huge crowd of parents, friends and alumni gathered to cheer for the six seniors.
“They’re such a special group of people. Every senior class is special, but I think this year in particular,” coach Steve Jennings said. “Coming through a really tough time with the pandemic, they missed a lot of the normalcy of a career in terms of development and all that and they stayed together, they pushed through, and really have given us so much determination, skill, heart, and so we're really, really proud of them.”
The Eagles had multiple scoring chances in the first quarter, including a penalty corner and two shots, but the Tribe’s defense was able to stop them. American’s defense was strong as well, especially senior defender Charllene Boshoff who continued her shutdown play.
The second quarter fared better for William & Mary. The Tribe was able to get their first four shots of the game off on senior goalkeeper Abbie Ortyl. William & Mary was awarded two penalty corners in succession, and senior Tabby Billingham scored for the Tribe on a rebound off the pads of Ortyl. Although down on the scoresheet, the Eagles were not deterred and resumed their typical strong defense for the rest of the quarter.
Halftime featured a recognition of the dozens of program alumni who came out to honor this year’s senior class. Alumni came onto the field together and were recognized by the crowd of family and friends.
The third quarter was rather uneventful, aside from two penalty corners for the Eagles which they were not able to score on. William & Mary played with urgency all game, but especially in the latter half. The game took a turn when William & Mary possessed the ball above their own 25-yard line, and sophomore midfielder Delia Rabatin stole the ball from them. Rabatin then sprinted to the goal and passed to Thierry, who reverse-chipped in the Eagles’ first goal of the game to tie it up.
Rabatin’s goal with about ten minutes left in the game breathed new life into the Eagles’ offense, and the team continued to dominate possession in the Tribe’s defensive zone. William & Mary was able to steal the ball away and get four shots off on American, but Ortyl continued her strong play in goal.
After a foul by William & Mary, Federica Turina Dellamaggiore sent the ball into the circle where Imogen Hatton tapped the ball to Hoffman. Hoffman lifted the ball over William & Mary goaltender Maddie George and jumped for joy as the Eagles took the lead.
“We've been working really hard all together as a team, and as a family, really,” Hoffman said. “I was able to put it in because my teammate passed to me because it came from another teammate.”
William & Mary’s remaining offensive attacks were fruitless as Ortyl continued to make saves, and the rest of the team cleared the ball from the circle. After securing the win for the senior class, the Eagles hugged and ran a victory lap to greet their adoring fans.