The #20 American University field hockey team played at a high level on Saturday in front of 713 fans at Jacobs Field but was outdone by a 44th minute goal as #3 Wake Forest escaped the turf with a 1-0 victory.
Wake Forest (7-2, 1-1) controlled possession for much of the first half but was unable to pressure the circle as American's (4-4) defense held firm in the final third of the field. The Demon Deacons lone scoring opportunity was the result off a penalty corner in the 17th minute. Aileen Davis's shot, however, was blocked by an American defender as the Eagles' defense allowed just the one shot for the half and two corners.
The American attack made the most of its limited possessions and pressured Wake goalkeeper Kaitlyn Ruhf on several occasions, earning four penalty corners in the frame and firing six shots. American look poised to take the lead late as Melissa Casale played a ball from the right of the circle to Christine Fingerhuth in the middle. Fingerhuth then sent a pass to Savannah Graybill at the top left of the circle where she fired a hard shot towards the top of the cage. Ruhf was in position to make the save though, preserving the 0-0 tie heading into halftime.
American again looked to take the lead early in the second half as Anne van Erp played a long pass from outside the circle in to a diving Fingerhuth. The ball, however, took a high bounce before reaching Fingerhuth and went harmlessly over the junior's stick.
Wake Forest was first to get on the scoreboard with a goal off a penalty corner in the 44th minute. The corner was inserted by Melissa Martin and stopped by Lauren Greenwald who left it at the top of the circle for a shot by Davis. Davis's shot was blocked by Fingerhuth and the bouncing ball was picked up by Greenwald on the right of the circle. Greenwald then put a shot on the far post which snuck by Alyssa Poorman in goal, giving the Demon Deacons a 1-0 lead.
American nearly tied the score in the 52nd minute as Jenn Bradley sent a centering pass from the right baseline to Kelsey Davis right in front of the cage. Davis made a diving deflection of the pass but the ball shot straight at Ruhf for the save. The Eagles threatened again in the 67th minute with an Anne-Meike de Wiljes shot off a penalty corner but her attempt was also saved by Ruhf. Wake Forest ran out the remaining time on the clock and took the victory, 1-0.
Despite the loss, American outshot Wake for the game 8-6 with each team earning five penalty corners. Only four of American's shots went on goal, however, as Casale, Davis de Wiljes and Graybill each recorded one. Poorman finished her afternoon with two saves in goal.
"We did a great job of getting our corner calls off," Associate Head Coach Sarah Thorn Krombolz commented after the game. "We played well defensively against the corners too. The goal that Wake Forest scored was off a broken play and those are always a little bit dangerous. Overall I think we did a really good job today."
American will return to Jacobs Field on Tuesday, Sept. 29, to face the defending NCAA National Champions and No. 1-ranked Maryland Terrapins at 3 p.m. The game can be seen live on the new Eagles Vision TV channel, featuring multiple camera angles, a live scoreboard and commentary from a studio broadcast team and sideline reporters. To sign up for Eagles Vision TV, click here.