Oct. 3, 2010
PRINCETON, NJ – Christine Fingerhuth scored two first half goals to lead the No. 14 American University field hockey team to a 3-2 win at No. 4 Princeton on Sunday. Lotte van de Mierop scored first to put the Eagles on top and Hannah Weitzman made seven saves in the cage to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season.
American (9-2, 1-0) earned the day’s first scoring opportunity with a penalty corner in the seventh minute. The Eagles were unable to get a shot off, however, and turned the ball over to Princeton (8-1, 3-0). The Tigers, who on Tuesday defeated No. 1 Maryland 4-2, responded moments later with their first shot of the day, but Katie Reinprecht’s attempt went wide. The Eagles earned a second corner on their next possession, and this time capitalized on the chance.
Natalie Ellenberger inserted the corner to Kirstin Gebhart, who left the ball at the top of the circle for Gina Hofmann. Hofmann sent a pass towards the cage where a waiting van de Mierop deflected the ball past Jennifer King to give American the early 1-0 lead.
American added a second goal just over one minute later on a sensational individual effort by Fingerhuth. The senior sent a reverse stick shot top shelf, putting the Eagles on top 2-0 just 10:49 into the action.
American’s defense came up with three stops over the next over the next 20 minutes, keeping Princeton off the board. Two Tiger shots were blocked during this stretch, with a third off a corner being sent wide.
Fingerhuth scored her second goal of the day in the 32nd minute, giving American a commanding 3-0 lead. Fingerhuth used a spin move to free herself from a defender before putting the ball away for her eighth score of the year. With time winding down in the first half, American turned away two more Tiger attacks with a blocked shot and Weitzman’s first save of the day, sending the Eagles into the intermission with the 3-0 advantage.
The momentum shifted in Princeton’s favor in the second half, beginning with a five-minute stretch in which the Tigers attempted five shots. American’s defensive unit stood tall, however, blocking three of the shots with Weitzman saving two. The Tigers finally broke through to make the score 3-1 in the 49th minute, as Kathleen Sharkey converted on a direct shot from the top of the shell off a corner.
Princeton kept the pressure on and attempted eight more shots over the next seven minutes. Weitzman was able to keep the Eagles in control, making four saves, while the defense blocked three others. The sustained attack paid dividends though, as Reinprecht found the back of the cage on the Tigers next possession in the 61st minute to make it a 3-2 game.
As it had all half, American’s defense came up big when it mattered most, turning away three final Princeton scoring opportunities down the stretch to secure the victory. Weitzman made one stellar defensive play herself, coming out of the cage to knock the ball away from a Tiger forward who had gotten behind the defense and was one-on-one with the goaltender. The Tigers also earned two corners in the final two minutes, but the shot on the first was blocked and the second attempt with no time on the clock was broken up before a shot could be taken.
The win marks the Eagle’s first victory over a team ranked in the top-5 of the NFHCA National Coaches Poll since October 3, 2004, when American defeated then No. 3 Maryland in College Park, Md., 3-1. The win also improves American’s current winning streak to eight, marking the teams longest such streak since the 2007 squad began the season 8-0.
Fingerhuth’s two goals give her a team-best eight for the year, and move her into fifth place all-time at American with 42 career scores. The 2009 Patriot League Player of the Year is also now eighth on the school’s career points list with 95.
Van de Mierop’s tally was her sixth of 2010, with Hofmann recording her team leading 10th assist on the goal. Weitzman made a career-high seven saves in the cage to improve to 9-2 on the year.
American will return to action next weekend with a pair of matches at Jacobs Field. The Eagles will first take the turf on Saturday, October 9, when they host Holy Cross at 11:00 a.m. in the team’s first home Patriot League contest of the year. American will also face #13 Duke on Sunday, October 10, at 1:00 p.m., in the team’s fourth annual “Phil