Two days before it plays in the Sun Belt Championship Game as the East Division's…
After forcing a Longwood turnover at midfield, Bridget Donovan handled the ball all the way down into the circle where she dished to Henriette Stegen who slapped a shot into the back of the cage to give App State a 3-0 fourth-quarter lead. Stegen’s fourth-quarter goal was her second of the contest and marked her first career multi-goal game.
App State (9-4, 4-1 MAC) played one of their most complete games of the season on Friday, as they would beat the Longwood Lancers (3-12, 1-4 MAC) 3-0 in another road contest. The win is the fourth consecutive win for App State and their fourth straight conference road win.
“I’m very happy about today’s win,” Stegen said. “Every game is a team effort. Today, we had each other’s backs and that is what led to our success in the win. Getting the win was the best part of my day.”
The defense played a major role in the win over Longwood as the Mountaineers posted their second shutout of the 2023 season. Not only did fifth-year goalkeeper Addie Clark save seven shots, Sarah Perkins recorded the Black & Gold’s second defensive save of the season, swatting a shot away in the second period to help preserve the shutout.
“Our team had a great defensive day today,” Perkins said. We had really good recovery lines and we were able to transition our defense to offense three different times today. It could have been anyone back there in the goal to get that save, but I’m glad I was there to have my teammate’s back.”
With the Mountaineers’ win over Longwood and Miami’s loss to Kent State earlier today, App State moves into a tie for first place in the MAC with five games to play. Coach Dinsmore’s team shows no signs of stopping as they are playing some of their best hockey down the stretch of the season.
The Lancers were able to draw the game’s first penalty corner in the sixth minute of the game, resulting in a shot by Zoe Tierney. Nothing came off the chance for Longwood, however, as Sarah Callery blocked the shot and threw the ball out of the circle.
Later on in the period, App State had their first chance to score, drawing two penalty corners in a matter of seconds. On the second corner, Lise Boekaar took the insert from Henriette Stegen and dribbled the ball into the middle of the circle where she would find the inserter Stegen in front of the cage for the game’s first goal. The score for Stegen was her second of the year and first since she scored against Towson on Aug. 25.
Just under two minutes later, App State would draw another penalty corner and would capitalize on the chance again as Hadley Kuzmicky would score App State’s second goal of the first quarter. Kuzmicky has played exceptionally over the past seven games, netting four goals in that stretch.
On the final play of the first quarter, Longwood would draw a penalty corner of their own. Last week’s MAC offensive Player of the Week, Ireland McDermott, fired a shot off the insert that was saved by Clark, giving her her second save of the quarter and preserving the two-goal lead after one quarter of play.
Longwood saw their best offensive chance of the day come in the 22nd minute of play as they would force a turnover on their side of the field. Longwood’s leading scorer, Luna Prieri, took the ball into the circle, forcing Addie Clark to come out to defend. Clark stopped the initial shot, but couldn’t clear it from the circle, resulting in a shot off the rebound by Prieri, but Sarah Perkins was in position to swat the ball away and save a Lancer goal.
The defensive save by Perkins was App State’s second of the season with both coming in the last two games.
The Mountaineers continued their aggressive play on the offensive side of the ball, as they would draw their fourth and fifth corners of the game in the 24th minute. Charlotte Bosma and Sarah Farrell each attempted shots off the inserts, but both shots were stopped by Longwood. Longwood goalkeeper Lara Van Nunen, who did not start this game, racked up her fourth save on Bosma’s shot attempt.
When the halftime horn sounded, the Mountaineers were leading 2-0 in Farmville. Execution on corners was the biggest story of the first half as App State scored on 2-5 first half penalty corners while Longwood was 0-7.
After the halftime break, Longwood came out looking to answer a strong first half from the Mountaineers, drawing a couple penalty corners in the first two minutes of the half. Ireland McDermott fired off two shots on goal, but Clark would save both. After eclipsing 250 saves in her last game, the fifth-year Mountaineer goalie saved seven more shots on Friday.
App State responded to the Lancers’ offensive pressure with a great charge down the field in the 37th minute as Sarah Farrell flung two shots on goal. McDermott, who racked up two defensive saves on the day, saved Farrell’s first shot before Van Nunen swatted away the second.
The Mountaineers continued to push the envelope in the third quarter of play but were unable to notch any further scores in the period. Clark tallied four saves in the period to keep the shutout intact as play headed to the fourth quarter.
Just three minutes into the final period, Longwood advanced the ball into the circle for yet another chance. However, Sarah Perkins, who played phenomenal defense all day, got back in time to block the Luna Prieri attempt. It was an impressive showing by Perkins and the defense in Virginia on Friday.
After a turnover in the midfield forced by Bridget Donovan, the sophomore dribbled the ball all the way into the circle where she would find Stegen at the back post who smacked the ball into the cage. Stegen’s second goal of the game extended the Mountaineer lead to three and all but ended any hopes for the Lancers to come back in the game.
After generating a few more chances in the final stages of the game, the fourth quarter came to a close with a zero underneath the Lancer side of the scoreboard. It’s the second shutout of the year for Coach Dinsmore’s defense and extends a streak of eight consecutive scoreless periods posted by the Mountaineers.
Each and every game we want to continue to build as a group,” head coach Emily Dinsmore said. “It has been very encouraging to see us take strides as a group during this streak, and we are excited to build off of this win again on Sunday.”
The Black & Gold will take to the road again as they travel to Charlotte, N.C., to face the Queens Royals on Sunday. First touch from Bessant Field is slated for 1 p.m.