CANTON -- Oneonta State spoiled the St. Lawrence University field hockey team's debut at the newly-renovated North Country Field on Saturday afternoon, as Ainsley Stoll's second goal of the game in overtime gave the Red Dragons a 3-2 victory in the 2010 season opener for each team.
St. Lawrence (0-1, 0-0) held sizable advantages in both shots (19-9) and penalty corners (19-9), but Oneonta State goalkeeper Leslie Dauphinais turned in nine saves to keep her team in the game. Junior Brittany Clark, making her first start in goal for St. Lawrence, made three saves.
"I thought our offense did a nice job of controlling the ball and we really didn't give up many chances defensively," said St. Lawrence head coach Fran Grembowicz. "We need to capitalize on our scoring tries, but I think we're starting to learn to play with more cohesiveness and we'll need to against a tough Utica team."
North Country Field's astro-turf surface was replaced this summer by a new field turf. The renovated stadium will be dedicated to legendary St. Lawrence coaches Dotty Hall and Don Leet on October 1, 2010.
Stoll scored the opening goal of the game at 8:56, when she pounced on a rebound in front of Clark. Stephanie Fiske was credited with the assist.
St. Lawrence, which out-shot Oneonta State 14-3 in the opening half, finally cashed in late in the frame to tie the score at 1-1 before intermission. Junior Taylor Vogt re-directed a centering pass by senior Caitlin Estes behind Dauphinais to knot the score at 33:36.
The Saints continued to pour on the offensive chances early in the second half, and their pressure paid off at 53:49 when Vogt scored her second goal of the game off of a penalty corner. Junior Emily Riley, who was stopped on a penalty stroke only 3:02 into the second half, pushed a pass to her left to junior newcomer Erika Swits. Swits fed a pass towards the goal for Vogt, and the Rochester, NY native once again re-directed the ball into the cage for a 2-1 lead.
Oneonta State would not go away, however, and needed only 3:06 to tie the game at 2-2. An Oneonta player rifled a shot that Clark was able to slow down, but the ball trickled behind her towards the goal line. Fiske was there to finish the play and bring the score to 2-2.
Despite having the majority of scoring chances down the stretch, it was the Saints that were on their heels late in the game, as both senior Brooke Maloney and Vogt were sent off with yellow cards, giving the Red Dragons a two-player advantage for nearly four full minutes.
Though St. Lawrence was able to kill off each of the penalties and got back to full strength in the 7 vs. 7 overtime, the fatigue in the midfield had clearly set in. This allowed Stoll to use a burst of speed to go around the Saints' defense and move in one-on-one against Clark. The keeper tried to cut off the angle, but Stoll was able to sneak a shot past her left leg pad and into the net, allowing Oneonta State to celebrate the 3-2 victory.
The Saints will look to rebound tomorrow afternoon against Utica College, who defeated Thomas College 6-0 earlier in the day. The game, which is scheduled for 1:30pm, will follow Oneonta State and Thomas College at 11:00am.