Oct. 30, 2011
EASTON, Pa. -
American's goal by Melissa Casale broke a 1-1 tie with less than 12 minutes remaining, helping propel the Eagles to a 3-1 win and a share of the Patriot League regular-season championship with Lafayette. The victory also gives American the right to host the Patriot League Tournament next weekend in Washington, D.C.
Lafayette, the second-seed in next week's tournament, will play third-seeded Lehigh on Nov. 4 for the right to play in the Patriot League Championship on Nov. 5. In the other semifinal matchup, American will take on the fourth seed, Bucknell.
"I'm really proud of our team for earning a share of the Patriot League regular season title, head coach Andrew Griffiths said. "It was a very close and hard fought game that wasn't decided until the final few minutes. I thought we played with good energy and I think the game came down to a couple of plays here or there."
American (9-7, 4-1 Patriot) recorded the first quality scoring chance of the contest when a two-on-one developed for the Eagles. As Kati Rothenhoefer carried the ball inside the Leopards' circle, Carolyn Cabrey elected to take away the pass and Rothenhoefer had a clear shot at the cage. Leopards' goalkeeper Jessica Deutsch came out to challenge the shot and used her left blocker to make the save, keeping the game scoreless seven and a half minutes in.
The Eagles took advantage of a controversial goal at the 30:19 mark of the first half. American took a shot on a penalty corner play and the rebound bounced to Natalie Ellenberger, who was positioned on the near post and knocked the ball into the vacant goal. The controversy came after protests from the Lafayette defense that the ball ricocheted into the cage off of Ellenberger's shin guard. After a brief meeting by the officials, the goal was counted, giving American a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Lafayette (9-8, 4-1 Patriot) responded quickly after the break, scoring 1:54 into the second half. Emily Valeo controlled the ball on the top of the circle, beat a defender to her left and carried along the goal line before taking a touch inside and shooting past American goalie Stephanie Burry. Valeo's fourth goal of the season tied the score at 1-1.
Afer Casale's game-winner, American added an insurance goal with 2:42 to play. Alex McMackin sent a pass from the end line across to Shelly Montgomery, who one-timed a shot past Deutsch, making the score 3-1.
The visitors controlled the game statistically, outshooting Lafayette 13-5 while holding the advantage in corners, 6-4. Deutsch made eight saves and Burry totaled four in the match.
Prior to the game, Cabrey and Colleen McGowan were honored as part of senior day.
"Both of our seniors played a really strong game and it was a nice way for them to finish on our home field," Griffiths added. "I'm also very excited about next weekend's tournament."