American defeats No. 21 UMass in double overtime 3-2

Overturned goal shifts momentum in favor of the Eagles

Collegian+File+Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Lulu Kesin, Sports Editor

Following almost two full overtime periods played, American University rocketed a shot above Marlise van Tonder’s helmet, snagging the 3-2 win in overtime over the No. 21 Massachusetts field hockey team on Sunday in College Park, Maryland.

UMass (4-2) thought they had the win. With just under six remaining in the first overtime, a corner penalty set the Minutewomen up with the chance to go home victorious. After Jess Beech inserted, a well-executed corner play put the ball in the back of the net for UMass — but the referee’s whistle interrupted the Minutewomen’s celebrations.

A brief pause for the call to be reviewed gave both lethargic teams a much-needed rest. However, when the coaches met at midfield to hear the result of the review, a no-goal call gave the Eagles (3-2) a burst of energy. An even split of no goals for either team in the remaining minutes extended Sunday’s battle into another overtime period.

Six seemed to be American’s lucky number on Sunday. Six minutes and 37 seconds left in the second overtime period, Noor Coenen had the game winning unstoppable shot off a penalty corner. What set up the Eagles to find themselves in that position in the first place came from Julia Kraft’s goal in the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

After freshman Dempsey Campbell lifted the Minutewomen to a 2-1 lead with her first collegiate goal off her own rebound, Craft evened it out pushing it to 2-2 late in the fourth.

For the majority of the first four quarters, neither team had an edge over the other. Even with a 2-1 lead for UMass, the pace of the game was matched on both ends. The Minutewomen came out strong with an early goal off a penalty corner with a feed from Bella Ianni to Claire Danahy to go up 1-0 but that lead was short lived.

A quick regroup and turnaround for American put the Eagles back into the game when Coenen got her first of the day just three minutes after Danahy’s. The last person that the Minutewomen wanted to leave open was Coenen and her classic top shelf goal made UMass pay the price. It was clear early on that both teams had all the tricks offensively to go at the other.

“They are a really strong team overall, good basic skills, they got a couple of impact players that if you give them any open space, they are going to make a difference,” Head Coach Barb Weinberg said.

American had a chance to go up earlier with one minute remaining in the opening quarter as the ball danced across the goal line from left to right but no Eagle was on the post to push it in.

On the other end, UMass had equally open chances at the net but couldn’t convert either. Georgie McTear had her share of shot attempts on corner plays but Eagles’ goalie Bryn Underwood had the net on lockdown. Underwood finished the day with five total saves. Van Tonder split even with five goals on Sunday, as well.

While goalie stops were a crucial aspect to the scoring opportunities for both teams, both the Eagles and Minutewomen had their share of shots veer wide. Ball pressure was constant throughout the opening quarter and didn’t let up until the end of the second overtime.

“The game was evenly matched for basically all four quarters … [it] could have gone either way,” Weinberg said. “I am really happy with how we battled and moving forward we just need to manage the game better so we can come out with the win in regulation.”

UMass will be back on the road Friday at 6 p.m. for its first conference game of the season against Davidson.

Lulu Kesin can be reached at [email protected] . Follow her on Twitter @Lulukesin.