Another close game ended in a victory for the field hockey team Sunday as the Owls completed a three-game homestand with a 2-1 overtime win over La Salle. The Owls (7-8), who have played eight straight games decided by two goals or less, remain undefeated in Atlantic Ten Conference play (2-0).
Assistant coach Ryan Langford said he was impressed with how the Owls played.
“The team was faced with something new in terms of how La Salle played the ball, but they handled it great,” Langford said.
The end of the first half neared with the Owls still scoreless. With four minutes remaining, sophomore midfielder Leanne Vogelsong scored her first collegiate goal off an assist from senior midfielder Jen Adamek.
The Explorers, who did not get a shot on goal in the first half, managed to challenge freshman goalie Erin Hanshue with four shots in the second half. La Salle midfielder Emily Simone capitalized on a penalty corner with two seconds remaining to force overtime.
Four minutes into the extra period, sophomore Alli Lokey delivered the decisive goal and ended the game. That Lokey scored the game-winner game came as no surprise to coach Amanda Janney.
“Lokey is so dangerous in the circle,” Janney said. “She’s been playing well and comes through for us in clutch situations.”
Langford said he was glad the team received the experience of playing in an overtime situation.
“It’s excellent because we know we can win in any type of situation now,” Langford said.
The Owls play at Saint Louis and Richmond this weekend before returning home to play the three remaining games of their A-10 schedule. In the final week of the season, the Owls face Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Saint Joseph’s. Only the Hawks have a record above .500.
The Owls have beaten both A-10 opponents they faced (West Chester and La Salle) this season. Now, Janney said, the team is left to focus only on what’s ahead.
“These wins give us great momentum going into our A-10 schedule, and they give us the feeling that we are much better than our record shows,” Janney said. “We should finish very high in the A-10s.”
With the A-10 tournament in sight, senior defenseman Ashley Shepps said the team has been more focused in their recent three-game win streak.
“Now that it’s the second half of the season, we’re playing more of our conference games,” Shepps said. “We know what we need to do to win these games.”
Freshmen goalkeepers Hanshue and Kendra Kennedy received A-10 Rookie of the Week honors. Hanshue has posted three shutout wins this season. Kennedy stopped three shots against Penn State while allowing one goal.
Although goalkeeper was a concern early in the season, Janney said she is now comfortable having two freshmen at the position.
“[The awards] have been a great confidence builder for our younger goalkeepers,” Janney said. “It’s good to see them get recognition.”
Melissa DiPento can be reached at email@example.com.