Longwood Comes Back For 3-2 Win

Published 12:57 pm Thursday, September 19, 2013

RADFORD — Junior Jessica Diaz/Chesapeake scored a pair of second-half goals to help the Longwood University field hockey team overcome a two-goal deficit and earn a 3-2 victory at Northern Pacific Field Hockey Conference (NorPac) opponent Radford University (1-5, 0-1) on Tuesday evening in Radford. Classmate Kelley Fay/Havertown, PA notched her first career goal in the outing, as well. The decision marked the 12th one-goal game in the last 15 matches of the series between the two schools. Longwood (3-4, 2-0) will return to action on Sunday, September 22 when the squad travels to Temple University for a 1 p.m. tilt.

“I’m proud of how the team came back tonight,” said head coach Iain Byers. “To go two goals down and then fight back to win, 3-2, shows great character from the players. This was a great performance on an unfamiliar surface, so we’re happy with the win. Going 2-0 in conference keeps us on track with our goal, as well. We are very proud and look forward to playing at Temple this weekend. We know it’s going to be a challenge, but we feel like we’re making strides forward and are excited for that challenge.”

The Highlanders took an early, 1-0 advantage, as Alayna Versage redirected an initial corner shot by teammate Stacey Mackintosh just over 12 minutes into play. The Lancers answered with shots by Diaz and sophomore Kim Ruiter/Huizen, the Netherlands, but both missed wide. After 15 minutes of scoreless action, Radford was able to extend its lead to 2-0 when Marianna Parker collected a rebound and fired a backhanded shot past the outstretched arms of senior goalkeeper Kaye Goulding/Tickhill, England. The two-goal margin would not last long, however, as Fay got her stick on the ball in the midst of a scramble in front of the cage during a corner to make the score 2-1, at the break.

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The Lancers took a decisive, 12-4 shot advantage in the second half. Sophomore Nicole Deckard/Selinsgrove, PA notched two attempts in the first minutes of the new period before sophomore Hollie MacDonald/Yorktown dished a solid pass to Diaz, who fired a hard shot from the right side past the opposing keeper to knot the score at 2-2. Over the next 15 minutes, the teams traded shots, registering three apiece, but neither side was able to pull ahead. Goulding made a diving stick save at 27:21 to deny RU and keep the stalemate intact. The difference maker came with just over six minutes remaining in the contest on a corner opportunity. Senior Stacey de Grandhomme/Cape Town, South Africa launched the initial shot on the play and Ava Merzadegan made a defensive save before Diaz scooped up the rebound and sent a shot of her own through the defense to seal the 3-2 victory for the Lancers.

Longwood outshot Radford, 18-13, in the win, and forced more penalty corners, 11-7. Fay, Deckard and de Grandhomme logged three shots apiece to lead the Lancers. Goulding turned away six shots in a complete game performance in front of the cage.