HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 2, 2012 – Sophomore forward Rachel Palumbo (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) scored her first career goal with just 38 seconds remaining in the first overtime period to lift the James Madison field hockey team to a 2-1 win over 25th-ranked American at the JMU Field Hockey Complex on Sunday.
The win improved the Dukes to 2-2 on the season and was the 99th victory in the career of Head Coach Antoinette Lucas. American, ranked 25th in the preseason Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll, dropped to 0-4 with the loss.
“After our loss yesterday, the way these kids bounced back is really exciting,” Lucas said. “I hope it’s a turning point for these guys to realize how really good we are.”
Palumbo’s goal came less than a minute after the Dukes had killed off a five minute player-down situation after a yellow card was assessed to one of its defenders. Senior midfielder Jenna Taylor (Midlothian, Va./James River) picked up the ball in the midfield and dribbled her way into the scoring area. She slipped a pass beyond the reach of the sliding goalkeeper to Palumbo who tipped it into an empty net for the sudden-victory, game-winning goal.
In addition to Palumbo’s goal, JMU also received a tally from redshirt junior forward Rachel Wein (Perryville, Md./Perryville) and an assist from redshirt freshman forward Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md./Pocomoke). West has tallied at least one point in three of Madison’s four games and is second on the team in points with four. Only Wein has more with five.
American was led by midfielder Alex McMackin with a goal on her only shot of the game while midfielder Grace Wilson picked up the team’s lone assist. Back Gina Hofmann had a team-high six shots and midfielder Shelly Montgomery chipped in with four shots.
Freshman goalkeeper Lena Wimmert (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany/Lise-Meitner Gymnasium) made four saves in 84 minutes, 22 seconds of action in net. She allowed just one goal to improve to 2-2 on the season. Redshirt junior back Sam Smiertka (Townsend, Del./St. Thomas More) contributed a defensive save to the Dukes’ defensive effort.
Ashley Dalisera took the loss for the Eagles to drop to 0-4 on the year. She allowed two goals and made four saves in net.
The teams were tied in shots 14-14 while American held an 11-5 advantage in penalty corners, including a 3-0 advantage in overtime.
American opened the scoring just 6:28 into the game on a penalty corner. Midfielder Carly Atchison inserted the ball where it was stopped and set up for a shot from Wilson. Wilson’s blast from the top of the circle was redirected by McMackin into the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
JMU evened the score in the 32nd minute on a strong play from West. She broke free from the defense and dribbled the ball into the scoring area where she slid it across the net to a wide open Wein. Wein knocked it into the empty net for her second goal of the season and the sixth of her career.
Both teams were held off the scoreboard throughout the second half to set up Palumbo’s game-winning goal in the first overtime.
Madison returns to the field next Sunday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. as it plays host to Davidson in a non-conference game.
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