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After suffering a loss by a rallying Longwood team on Tuesday, Sept, 17 Radford’s field hockey team came back with a terrific defensive effort and victory over division rival Davidson last Friday, Sept, 20.
For the home opener, RU took on NorPac East opponent Longwood last Tuesday. The group started out well, with senior back Alayna Versage tallying in the 13th minute and giving the Highs an early 1-0 lead.
Versage scored the goal after redirecting a short corner shot from sophomore midfielder Stacey Mackintosh. It was both Versage’s first goal and Mackintosh’s first assist of the season.
RU struck again in the 28th minute when sophomore forward Marianna Parker rebounded a deflected shot past the keeper for her third goal of the season.
Junior back Kellen Keys provided the initial shot, and Parker was there to retrieve the deflection and swing in a reverse stick from the right side for the 2-0 advantage.
The Highs couldn’t keep the Lancers off the board in the first period, though. Just a few minutes after Parker extended the lead for RU, sweeper Kelley Fay of LU squeaked a shot past senior goalkeeper Sidney Encarnacion after a scramble in front of the cage.
For the second period of the match, forward Jessica Diaz proved to be too much for the Highs to stop.
Eight minutes into the second period, Diaz scored on a cross through the circle by teammate and forward Hollie MacDonald.
With only five minutes remaining in the contest, the Lancers earned a corner. Midfielder Stacey de Grandhomme took a shot after the corner and was blocked by freshman Ava Mirzadegan.
Diaz was there on the rebound, however, and put a shot past the defense and freshman goalkeeper Jillian Lates for the eventual game winning shot.
Radford had a couple of opportunities to tally in the second period but goalkeeper Kaye Goulding stopped the promising attempts, including a shot on goal by Parker with less than two minutes remaining.
Twelve of the last fifteen matches between the Radford and Longwood field hockey teams have been decided by only one goal.
The team remained at home and took on another NorPac divisional opponent in Davidson last Friday. This time, however, the defense stayed solid throughout the entire duration of the contest.
It was especially impressive to see the score at 0-0 at halftime. After the first period, the Wildcats held a 15-4 shot advantage and an 11-4 corner advantage, but could not seem to muster the ability to score thanks to Encarnacion’s six first period saves and RU’s defense blocking several additional shots.
The second period was much more level with both Radford and Davidson coming up with four shots a piece, and the Highs holding the 4-2 corner advantage in the period. Yet again, neither team was able to come up with a goal.
In overtime, RU kicked it into high gear. The group tallied two early shots while surrendering none to Davidson, the second of which proving to be the golden goal.
Versage earned a corner less than a minute into overtime and the Highs were able to keep the ball in the Davidson half of the field.
Twenty seconds later, Mackintosh drilled a shot that hit off the post, but Versage came up with the loose ball and ripped the rebound home, giving the Highs the 1-0 victory.
Encarnacion was superb, saving seven shots and allowing none in the overtime affair.
The win snapped a three game skid for the Highs and put them at 1-1 in conference play.
The team will play at home again this Saturday to play NorPac opponent Appalachian State at 1 p.m.