Field hockey clinches top Patriot League seed

Eagles defeat Holy Cross on Senior Day

Field hockey clinches top Patriot League seed
Federica Turina Dellamaggiore taking winning shot

The American University field hockey team (8-7) beat Patriot League rival Holy Cross Crusaders (7-8) 2-1 on Senior Day on Oct. 21.

Pregame, American honored its four seniors, defender Emily Horace, midfielder Imogen Hatton, midfielder Kendall Jung and goalkeeper Bryn Underwood. Underwood performed the national anthem before taking her place in goal.

Holy Cross had the opening possession and brought the ball back into their own defensive end where American promptly put the pressure on them. Hatton and junior midfielder Federica Turina Dellamaggiore led the charge into the Crusaders’ circle and Turina Dellamaggiore got the first shot of the game off, but Holy Cross goalkeeper Brooke Ross deflected the shot wide. The Crusaders were largely unable to penetrate the Eagles’ defense for the first half of the opening quarter. Even when they got the ball down to American’s end, the defenders kept it near the edge of the circle where it would not be a threat. 

The rest of the quarter continued as a defensive battle with little activity. Turina Dellamaggiore got two more shots off, both of which also went wide. Hatton followed with a shot of her own, though hers was blocked by a Holy Cross defender. Though the Eagles had the better, and only, scoring opportunities of the quarter, the score remained locked at 0-0.

In the second quarter, Turina Dellamaggiore got back to more of the same and took another shot on the Crusaders. Junior midfielder Kaleigh Missimer earned the first penalty corner of the game, which freshman midfielder Sarah Steinman inserted. Freshman defender Sophie Willemse received Steinman’s insert at the top of the circle and took a powerful shot which soared over the goal. Holy Cross received a green card near the end of the quarter, giving American the player advantage for a crucial two minutes. The Eagles kept the ball at the Crusaders’ defensive end and took three shots during the penalty but had no goal as both the penalty and half-finished. 

After a quiet first half, American kicked their play up a notch. The Eagles recorded seven shots in just the first two minutes of the half. Steinman earned a penalty stroke after the ball became trapped in Ross’ gear, but Ross saved the shot to keep the score 0-0. Shortly after, Willemse intercepted a Holy Cross aerial and sent the ball up the field to junior midfielder Delia Rabatin. Freshman midfielder Emma Guydish received a pass further up from Rabatin and dribbled right up to Ross in goal. Rabatin poked the ball before the Crusaders’ defense could stop her and the Eagles suddenly took a 1-0 lead.

“It was incredible,” Rabatin said. “I think we had a lot of shots on goal and so we know we were knocking on the door so it was amazing that we had a breakaway to then be able to knock it in at the far post, I was super happy.”

American finished the quarter strong with three more shots of their own and none from Holy Cross, but could not yet get any insurance goals. Their fire seemed to have worn off as the fourth quarter began and the Crusaders quickly earned a penalty corner. Holy Cross defender Megan Schienbein inserted the ball to the top of the circle and stationed herself at the post where she tipped in the equalizer. 

Minutes later, while on the player advantage thanks to a Holy Cross yellow card, the Eagles took their eighth penalty corner of the game. Graduate student forward Megan Hoffman inserted to Missimer, who passed across the top of the circle to Turina Dellamaggiore, who fired off a goal to regain the lead. 

“I have a lot of support from my coaching staff and my teammates so it makes it easier,” Turina Dellamaggiore said. “I was able to put it in the back of the net today and it’s a little bit of a relief.”

That goal would be the last of the game, though not for lack of chances. The Eagles had four penalty corners in the last eight minutes of the game — double the Crusaders’ two for the whole game. Holy Cross would have one more penalty corner as the game came to a close, but failed to actually get any shots off. 

American’s 2-1 victory sealed both teams’ fates; the Eagles clinched the No. 1 seed and home field in the Patriot League tournament while the Crusaders were eliminated from contention.

“Our first goal of the year was to be regular season champions of the league. We’ve secured that, so that’s amazing, and to do that on senior day, and with so many alumni in presence, it’s really really special,” head coach Steve Jennings said. “We’re really excited that we’ve clinched the number one seed, and we get to defend our home field here.”

The Eagles will travel up to Boston University to face the Terriers in their final regular season test on Oct. 28 at 12 p.m.

This article was edited by Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis, Olivia Citarella and Luna Jinks. 

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle

Would you like to support our work? Donate here to The Eagle Innovation Fund.