App State field hockey defeated the La Salle Explorers on Sunday 2-1 in their first home win of the year and in the head coach Meghan Dawson era.
Sunday’s game was the second of the home stand, which saw the Mountaineers drop the first game in a 5-0 shutout against James Madison.
The Explorers struck first in the game, as forward Abbey Lawrence scored on a corner play six minutes into the match. That would be the only time La Salle would find the back of the net, however, as the Mountaineer defense stepped up the intensity after the early goal.
Goalie Cristina Ceppi had one of her best games of the year, saving six of the remaining seven shots on goal by the Explorers.
“After that first goal got by me, I learned from it really fast,” Ceppi said. “I was determined to not let them score again. I really increased my energy.”
On the offensive end, senior forward Caroline Phillips came up big, scoring both of the Mountaineer goals. Phillips first goal came off of a set corner play and she was assisted by sophomore forward Micaela Diedericks. Phillips struck again off an assist by sophomore midfielder Taylor Cimbalist with nine minutes left in the game, giving the Mountaineers the edge 2-1.
“I was just set up really well, and we managed to convert opportunities to score, which is something we haven’t been doing,” Phillips said.
After the game, Dawson could be heard telling her players to “act like they win all the time.”
The excitement of the victory was echoed in Phillips’ and Ceppi’s comments postgame.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Phillips said. “It’s nice to get that winning feeling back and hopefully we can keep it.”
Dawson said she was proud of her team, but knows they must keep improving if they plan to compete in their next game against No. 3 North Carolina, Dawson’s alma mater, on Sunday.
“It was nice to get a win, but we have lots of things we need to work on before Sunday,” Dawson said. “Our goal Sunday is to compete with UNC. Just to compete would be a great accomplishment against such a good team.”
With the win, the Mountaineer’s improve to 2-6 on the season.
Story by: Lee Sanderlin, Sports Reporter
Photos by: Lindsey Honkomp, Intern Photographer