Rao's OT Goal Lifts Field Hockey Past Eastern, 4-3
ST. DAVIDS, Pa. - Sophomore Aarti Rao scored the game-winning goal in the 13th minute of overtime to give the Swarthmore College field hockey team (3-4, 1-2) a thrilling and well-deserved road victory at Eastern by the score of 4-3 on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.
The golden goal - Rao's second goal of the game - was set up off a long pass in the midfield. Rao took the ball, dribbled through the Eagles' defense and beat the goalkeeper near post, sending the Garnet bench into jubilation. Rao also added an assist as part of her career day.
Juniors Katie Teleky and Taryn Colonnese also scored goals for the Garnet, which picked up its second-consecutive win of the season.
The defense, led by sophomore goalkeeper Gabriella Capone, also played a pivotal role in Swat's impressive non-conference road win. Capone made 10 saves in the cage - marking her second-consecutive double-digit save performance - while the defense held tight against constant pressure from the Eagles (3-4). Junior Allison Ranshous added a defensive save in the first half.
In a wild, back-and-forth contest that included a 50-minute lightning delay and four lead changes, the Eagles struck first on Yvonne Herbster's early goal in the third minute of play.
The Garnet struck back with the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead heading into the half. In the 12th minute, Rao scored her first goal off a penalty corner to tie the game 1-1. In the 34th minute, Colonnese scored from the front of the goal with an assist from sophomore Nia Jones to make it 2-1 at the break.
In the second half, Eastern evened the score in the 41st minute when Brittany Moyer scored from the right side to make it 2-2. The Garnet again answered Eastern's score right away, with Teleky scoring her team-leading fifth goal of the season in the 45th minute off an assist from Rao to make it 3-2.
But just when it looked as if Swarthmore had taken control, the Eagles found another equalizer in the 53rd minute on Kelby Bolton's unassisted goal, knotting the score 3-3. That score would stand until Rao scored the game winner nearly 30 minutes later.
Eastern held an advantage in shots (24-13) and penalty corner (14-7).
Swarthmore returns to Cetennial play on Saturday when it hosts Johns Hopkins at noon.