April 26, 2007
WASHINGTON - With a berth to the NCAA Tournament on the line, the third-place American University women's lacrosse team travels to the Patriot League Tournament for a semifinal showdown with Lehigh on Friday at 4 p.m. in Worcester, Mass.
The Eagles finished out the 2007 regular season 8-8 overall and 3-2 in conference action, with its losses coming to upcoming opponent Lehigh and possible tournament foe Holy Cross. Squaring off for second place in the Patriot League standings, AU and Lehigh went head to head less than a week ago, with the Mountain Hawks coming out with the 10-9 overtime victory. With Lehigh leading by two with less than a minute to go, AU stepped up and sent the game into extra minutes, with back to back goals coming from Caitlin Bell (Flourtown, Pa./Springfield) and Jackie Lane (North Massapequa, N.Y./Plainedge). In the final three minutes, the Mountain Hawks won the battle, scoring off a scramble in front of the goal. With a victory, American will earn the sweetest revenge possible, securing a spot in the Patriot League Championship.
"I am excited for the Patriot League tournament this weekend," Head Coach Katie Woods said. "I think it will be a great opportunity for AU to compete at a high level, the season is on the line and the team is fired up and ready to go. We've been working hard all year, always keeping the Patriot League Tournament in the back of our minds. Now that we're in, we've stepped up the intensity and we're preparing for game one of our post season."
In her inaugural season as head coach at American University, Woods has led the squad to its best season in two years. Under her tutelage, the Eagles have six All-Patriot League Selections in the 2007 season, split between the first and second teams. This marks the most representatives on the All-Conference squad since the 2004 season. Lauren Aksionoff (Baldwin, N.Y./Baldwin), Lane and Bell earned First Team All-Patriot League, with Caithlin Gorman (Springfield, Va./Bishop Ireton), Brittany Finnegan (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip) and Kristine Vida (Syosset, N.Y./Syosset) earning Second Team honors.
Offensively, the Eagles are led by Aksionoff's team high 54 points, coming off 33 goals and 21 assists, with Lane right on her toes with 39 goals and 13 assists, good for 52 points. Finnegan leads the squad with 42 groundballs and 32 caused turnovers, leading the team to a nation-leading 193 caused turnovers and a fourth-place ranking in the NCAA statistics in groundballs with 344.
In the other semifinal match-up, No. 1 Holy Cross will play host to fourth place Colgate. The winners of both contests will go head to head in the championship game on Sunday.
Be sure to keep up to date with AUEagles.com for complete times, results and standings.