VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Washington and Lee field hockey team scored two goals in the final five minutes of the second half to earn a 3-2 victory at Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday at Birdsong Field.
The Generals (12-4, 7-0 ODAC) have now won eight straight contests, which is the longest winning streak since the team was victorious in 11 consecutive games during the 2005 season.
Trailing 2-1 with under five minutes left in the second half, the Blue and White controlled the ball in the Marlins' (7-9, 1-5 ODAC) zone. Senior forward Maggie Sands (Glen Arm, Md./Notre Dame Prep) sent the ball into the circle, and sophomore forward Lauren Paolano (Huntington, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) redirected it into the cage to tie the game, 2-2, with 4:05 left on the clock.
The goal marked the 24th in Paolano's career, which moved her to seventh on the W&L career list.
Just a few minutes later, the Blue and White were awarded a penalty corner with 3:09 remaining in the contest. Sophomore defender Olivia Hewitt (St. Louis, Mo./Visitation Academy) inserted the ball to the top of the circle. From there, a pass was sent into the center of the circle to Paolano, but her shot was stopped, as VWU's junior goalkeeper Skye Swain made a diving save.
Sands collected the rebound just to the left of Swain, and quickly fired a shot across the goal and into the cage for the game-winner (3-2) with 1:21 left on the clock. The Blue and White maintained possession the rest of the game to secure the victory.
W&L held a 16-11 advantage in shots in the contest, while the Marlins had a 9-8 edge in penalty corners. Junior goalkeeper Ariyel Yavalar (Baltimore, Md./Garrison Forest School) made six saves in 70 minutes. Swain stopped six shots, while playing the entire game.
Virginia Wesleyan scored the first two goals of the game in the opening 22 minutes of the first half. Both tallies came off the stick of sophomore defender Elizabeth Roberto. The Marlins carried the 2-0 lead into the second half. Junior forward Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va./St. Catherine's School) got the Generals on the board 3:19 into the stanza off assists from Hewitt and sophomore midfielder Jessie Serody (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny).
With the goal, Tucker now has 17 this season, which is tied for the third-most in a single-season in program history. Sallie Armstrong '10 had 17 goals during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Tucker also pushed her single-season points total to 38, which is tied for second-most in a single season in W&L history. Jane Beall '06 had 38 points in 2005 and Kelly Taffe '04 notched 38 in 2003.
This was the final contest of the regular season for the Generals. They secured the top seed in the conference tournament with a perfect 7-0 ODAC mark. This marks the first time W&L has completed the regular season undefeated in league play. The Generals will receive a bye to semifinals of the ODAC Tournament, and will play the winner of the quarterfinal between the fourth and fifth seeds.
W&L will host both ODAC semifinals on Friday, November 3, with the times still to be announced. The championship will also take place on the W&L Turf Field on Saturday, November 4.
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