W&L Field Hockey Claims ODAC Title with 2-1 OT Win over Hornets

W&L Field Hockey Claims ODAC Title with 2-1 OT Win over Hornets

LEXINGTON, Va. — Junior forward Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va./St. Catherine's School) tallied the game-winning goal 2:46 into overtime to propel the top-seeded Washington and Lee field hockey team to a 2-1 victory over second-seeded Lynchburg in the ODAC Championship contest on Saturday at the W&L Turf Field. This marks the second ODAC title in program history and the first since 2005.

The teams entered the extra frame tied, 1-1. On a counter attack, Tucker had the ball on the near side and dibbled to the end line. She eluded a defender while tiptoeing the line, and then stuffed the ball between the Lynchburg goalkeeper, first-year Laurel Nicks, and the near post to give the Generals (14-4) the title.

The goal marked the 19th of the season for Tucker, which tied the W&L single-season record. Maggie Waxter '17 tallied 19 goals in 2016 and Kelly Taffe '04 had 19 in 2003.

The Generals notched the first goal of the game in the 15th minute of the opening half. Following a defensive save by the Hornets (16-4), the Blue and White were awarded a penalty shot. Senior midfielder Maggie Sands (Glen Arm, Md./Notre Dame Prep) took the attempt for W&L, and beat Nicks with a shot to the upper left-hand corner of the cage.

Lynchburg tied the game (1-1) with 2:05 left in the first half. Off a penalty corner, a long ball was sent into the circle. Following a deflection by a W&L defender, first-year forward Jackie Lerro tipped the ball into the goal.

While steady rain fell during much of the first half, the skies opened up in the second, which grinded the fast-paced game to a halt. The teams played through puddles covering most of the field until late in the stanza. Lynchburg was able to keep possession for most of the half, taking nine shots compared to only two by the Generals. The W&L defense continued to make every necessary play and sent the game to overtime for Tucker's heroics.  

Junior goalkeeper Ariyel Yavalar (Baltimore, Md./Garrison Forest School) played the full game for W&L, stopping six shots. Nicks made three saves, and was aided by three other saves by her defense.

For the contest, the Hornets held a 17-12 advantage in shots and a 9-7 edge in penalty corners. Following the conclusion of the tournament, Tucker, Sands, senior forward Grace Bowen (Hampton, Va./Hampton Roads Academy), senior defender Lilly MacDonald (Bluemont, Va./Foxcroft School) earned spot on the ODAC All-Tournament Team.

The Generals have now won 10 straight contests, which is the most since winning 11 in a row during the 2005 season. With the victory, W&L secured the ODAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Blue and White will find out where and when it will play next late on Sunday evening.

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