WASHINGTON - The American University field hockey team put up a late surge to push No. 13 Wake Forest into overtime on Friday but eventually fell to the Demon Deacons, 4-3.
The Eagles hold an overall record of 12-5, 5-1 in the Patriot League, as they head into their final regular season match on Sunday. Wake Forest closed its regular season at 12-6 overall and 3-3 in the ACC.
"We couldn't have asked for a more exciting game and a more determined effort," head coach Steve Jennings said. "Wake is an outstanding team and they made some incredible runs, but to our credit, we kept fighting. Our persistence and belief were rewarded by forcing overtime with two great goals.
"To that end, despite the loss, I think we learned a great deal about ourselves tonight. This team can do some powerful things and we look forward to learning from this game as we go into the regular season finale."
Once again, AU showed its depth in the offense, as four Eagles contributed to the team's scoring efforts. Senior Leah DiGiandomenico, junior Rafaela Rubas and freshman Noor Coenen each earned a goal on the day, while junior Annaka Groschinski contributed the team's lone assist.
Junior Maura Jacobs brought down four saves on eight shots on goal, bringing her total up to 39 this season.
Wake Forest was led by a pair of goals from Nicola Pluta. Meghan Murphy also contributed a goal, and Megan Anderson added a goal and assist.
Although the Eagles were the first to get on the board after DiGiandomenico put away her sixth goal of the season off a pass from Groschinski in the 23rd minute, Wake Forest put up a strong push during the half's final minutes to enter the locker room with a 2-1 advantage.
The Demon Deacons carried that momentum into the second half, earning an early goal to pull ahead by two. From there, it was a tight battle until the final eight minutes of the game, when Coenen collected a loose ball at the top of the circle and notched her 14th goal of the season to bring AU within one.
Rubas tied the game with less than two minutes left in regulation, beating the Wake Forest goalkeeper on a breakaway to push the match into overtime with her 10th goal of the season.
Wake Forest controlled play in extra time, though, putting up a pair of early shots before gaining the game-winning penalty corner in the fourth minute.
The Eagles will close its regular season slate with a nonconference matchup at Appalachian State on Sunday, Oct. 29. For the latest on AU Field Hockey, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_FieldHockey.