Field hockey loses battle against American in double overtime

Senior midfielder Anna Steps fends off two American players last weekend. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

The Lafayette field hockey team dropped another close game last weekend, falling to defending conference champion American 2-1 in double overtime. The team now holds a 1-3 record with just two games remaining in a shortened spring season.

There has been little margin of error for the team this season, as the Leopards have lost three games by one goal and suffered two defeats in overtime. Lafayette will need to win one or both of their final games in order to qualify for the playoffs.

But the players aren’t hanging their heads just yet.

“I know that we ended up losing but we played in such a strong cohesive unit,” said senior midfielder Anna Steps. “The game flow itself was really strong and something we can build on.” 

Sunday was also Senior Day for Lafayette as the team honored five seniors: Eva Kaplan, Audrey Sawers, Anna Steps, Grace Angelella and Sophie Carr. The players had to celebrate without their families present but they still made the most of it. 

“It was so special, but we weren’t able to have our parents there like usual,” Steps said. “This year was just the team and our two coaches, but it was really special that the team decorated the locker room and just poured their whole heart into making that day as special as they could for us. It was really nice.”

In Sunday’s game, Lafayette fell into a 1-0 hole within the first seven minutes after American attempted four consecutive penalty corners and successfully scored on the fourth one. 

American maintained the 1-0 lead for the next 40 minutes before the Leopards scored the equalizer just after the start of the fourth quarter. Senior midfielder Audrey Sawers gathered a rebound off a shot from junior forward Molly McAndrew and found the back of the net for her second goal of the year. 

The Eagles managed two more shot attempts before the end of regulation, with one missing and one being turned aside by freshman goaltender Emma Garvey, who tallied two saves while playing the whole game. 

The fourth quarter ended with the game knotted at one, forcing the Leopards to play their third consecutive overtime game after beating Holy Cross 2-1 on March 28 and losing to Boston University 2-1 on March 21.

But one overtime wasn’t enough on Sunday.

The Leopards and Eagles each had a shot in the first overtime and Lafayette came closer to scoring. Sophomore defender Simone Hefting put a shot on goal in the first two minutes, but it was saved by the American goalkeeper and the game headed into a second overtime. 

American put in the game-winning goal in the 75th minute, sending the Leopards to the brink of playoff elimination. 

Despite the loss, McAndrew had high praise for the teams’ seniors, who she said stepped up to the challenge in their final game at home. 

“Eva [Kaplan], who’s a senior, stepped up huge and in her final game,” McAndrew said. “She had really good block tackles. Anna [Steps] did a really good job at defending Noor [Coenen] who’s the reigning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year. She did a really good job at pretty much shutting her down.” 

Next up for the team is a trip to Lewisburg, Pa., to take on Bucknell on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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