W&L Field Hockey Edged by No. 1 Messiah, 3-2, in NCAA Tournament

W&L Field Hockey Edged by No. 1 Messiah, 3-2, in NCAA Tournament

GRANTHAM, Pa. — Despite two goals from sophomore forward Lauren Paolano (Huntington, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) and 16 saves from junior goalkeeper Ariyel Yavalar (Baltimore, Md./Garrison Forest School), the Washington and Lee field hockey team fell at top-ranked Messiah, 3-2, on Saturday, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Generals (15-5) took a 2-1 lead into halftime off the play of Paolano. W&L scored the first goal of the game in the 13th minute. The Falcons (20-0) controlled the ball in their own zone and attempted to make a centering pass. Paloano intercepted the ball and quickly redirected it into the corner of the cage to give the Blue and White a 1-0 advantage.

Messiah evened the contest, 1-1, just two minutes later. Falcons' senior forward Carissa Gehman had the ball on the near side and sent a pass to the far post. Senior forward Taylor Holt was waiting for the ball and stuffed it into the cage.

The Generals regained a one-goal advantage (2-1) with six minutes remaining in the first half. Off a penalty corner, W&L inserted the ball to the top of the circle. Junior forward Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va./St. Catherine's School) sent a pass to the far side of the circle to senior midfielder Maggie Sands (Glen Arm, Md./Notre Dame Prep). Sands then found Paolano in the center of the circle, who again beat the keeper to the near post.

Paolano finishes the season with 16 goals, which is tied for the sixth-highest single-season total in program history. She now has 28 goals in her career, which is the fifth-highest total in W&L history.

The Falcons tallied the only two goals of the second half to secure the victory. Messiah tied the game, 2-2, just two minutes into the second half on Holt's second goal of the contest. Then with 7:11 left in the game, senior forward Carissa Gehman collected a deflected ball in front of the cage, and pushed it into the goal for the game-winner.

Yavalar was key to the Generals chance to pull off the upset, as she recorded a season-high 16 saves. With the 16 saves, she moved to second on the W&L all-time list, as she now has 263 in her career.

Messiah maintained possession most of the contest, holding a 44-2 advantage in shots and a 15-3 lead in penalty corners. This marked just the second time this season that the Falcons allowed more than one goal in a game.

The Generals end the 2017 with a record of 15-5, which is tied for the most wins in a single season in program history. This marked the first time the Blue and White advanced to the second round of the tournament, which meant W&L was one of the final 16 teams playing in Division III.

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