Nov. 5, 2006
WASHINGTON - No. 19 American University women's field hockey team earned their fourth consecutive Patriot League Championship title with a 5-3 win at the William I Jacobs Recreational Complex against Holy Cross on Sunday.
The two teams split chances in the opening minutes of the game, but similar to last year's championship match, AU got on the board first in the ninth minute when Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Denise Infante (Santiago, Chile/Santiago) connected on the Eagles' third straight penalty corner. With Irene Schickhardt inserting and Annie DeWiljes (Hannover, Germany/Humboldschule Hannover) as the stick stop, a text book play found Infante open at the top of the circle. With a driven shot to the bottom, left corner, the Santiago, Chile, native, gave the Eagles their first lead of the game.
Less than two minutes later Crusaders' senior Tara Welch positioned her self in front of the net where she awaited a Sara O'Coin pass and knotted the game at one.
Heidi Hershberger (Davis, Calif./Davis) , a Second Team All-Patriot League selection this year, put the Eagles up 2-1 when she tallied her second goal of the PL tournament at the 18:58 mark. After a penalty corner where Infante fired another shot at goalkeeper Erin Singleton, Hershberger was there for the rebound and put it away in the upper corner.
With a one goal lead, American University continued to put the Crusaders defense under pressure. Junior Maggie Hall intercepted a Holy Cross clear and with a quick shot, extended AU's lead.
Before half, the Crusaders came within one, but this was the closest they would get to the Championship title.
Leading by one to start the second stanza, Camila Infante (Santiago, Chile/Santiago) scored her third goal of the Patriot League Championship off another penalty corner play. With her sister, Denise Infante, faking the shot, the four-time First Team All-Patriot League midfielder buried a shot past Singleton.
The scoring was still not finished; Welch tallied her second goal of the game for Holy Cross, but freshman Savannah Graybill scored her eighth goal of the season off a deflection from a shot by Infante.
Camila Infante's three goal and one assist performance throughout the championship tournament earned her the PL Tournament MVP, a feat that has been awarded to her sister the past two years. AU goalie Allison Fayfich made five saves in the game, including a diving save that came on a Holy Cross penalty corner. American outshot the Crusaders 14-8 and also held a 14-5 margin on penalty corners.
This was the fourth consecutive Patriot League title for the Eagles' and they have remained undefeated in conference play for four seasons. With this win, American has earned another NCAA tournament berth.
American will have until Tuesday evening to find out who they will be playing in the 2006 NCAA Field Hockey Tournament when CSTV runs the selection show. Check back to www.AUEagles.com for more information.