LEXINGTON, Va. — Off a pass from sophomore forward Lauren Paolano (Huntington, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor), junior forward Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va./St. Catherine's School) registered the game-winning goal to give the Washington and Lee field hockey team a 1-0 double overtime victory over Denison in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday at the W&L Turf Field.
The teams ended regulation tied, 0-0, and then neither squad tallied a shot on goal in the first overtime. Early in the second extra period, the Big Red (17-4) turned it over in its own end just outside the circle, with Tucker intercepting the pass.
Tucker immediately passed to Paolano at the top of the circle, and then Paolano sent the ball back to a streaking Tucker on the far side. With only the keeper in front of her, Tucker slipped the ball into the back of the cage to give the Generals (15-4) the victory.
The goal marked the 20th of the year for Tucker, which set a new W&L single-season record. She also tied the program's single-season points mark with 45. Maggie Waxter '17 also had 45 points in 2016.
This is the first time in program history the Generals have won a game in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round. The 15 wins also ties the program's single-season record. The Blue and White also won 15 games during the 2005 season.
Junior goalkeeper Ariyel Yavalar (Baltimore, Md./Garrison Forest School) played all 88:07 for the Blue and White, stopping four shots. This marked her fourth shutout of the season, which is tied for the third-most in a single season in W&L history. First-year goalkeeper Kerry Lawler played the full game for the Big Red. She made two saves.
The first two halves of the game were dominated by each team's defensive unit. For Denison, first-year defender Michelle Kabaira and senior defender Jane Higley consistently made plays, while senior defender Lilly MacDonald (Bluemont, Va./Foxcroft School), sophomore defender Olivia Hewitt (St. Louis, Mo./Visitation Academy) and sophomore defender Cassie Grebas (Prince George, Va./Maggie Walker Governor's School) were key to the Generals' victory.
The Blue and White had an opportunity to win the contest at the end of regulation, as the team was awarded a penalty corner as time expired. Hewitt inserted the ball on the far side to Tucker. Tucker then fired a shot at the cage, but it ricocheted off the far post into a W&L player's leg to conclude the half.
Denison led in shots in the game, 17-8, and held a 7-5 advantage in penalty corners. With the victory, the Generals have now won 11 games in a row, which ties a program record. The 2005 squad also won 11 straight contests.
W&L plays at top-ranked Messiah on Saturday at 11:00 am. This will be the first meeting between the two programs.
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