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Dramatic OT save keeps Wilson Field Hockey undefeated after draw with Moravian Academy

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Annalize McAuliffe of Wilson Area High School chose a good time for her first dive.

The sophomore goaltender stopped a penalty stroke from Moravian Academy’s Jr. Megan Dadio in overtime and lunged to her right to preserve the Warriors’ unbeaten record.

“I tried to look her in the eye to see where the stroke was going,” McAuliffe said. It was my first time diving and I went for it.

A dramatic goalkeeper save near the end of extra time saw Wilson and the Moravian Academy draw 2-2 in the Colonial League game at Wilson Area Intermediate School on Thursday.

The Warriors (14-0-1) nearly won the game when junior Zoe Ehrman got loose on the breakaway minutes before the game. Lions senior goaltender Rosemary his John made his two saves and Dadio flipped another shot to end the threat.

Wilson had to overcome a 2-0 deficit to force overtime.

Dadio converted a penalty stroke with 7:29 left in the first quarter to put the Moravian Academy ahead (12-1-1). Senior Zia Gupta extended the advantage for the Lions when he finished a close-range attempt with 9:36 in the second quarter.

The Warriors appeared on the scoreboard 1 minute and 40 seconds later. Sr. Melissa Shank gave her sophomore Sophia her Bundy, Rising her shot hit the net in her cage on goal.

When the hosts rallied to force OT, the Lions had less than four minutes before giving Wilson his first loss of the season.

Bundy won possession in the Moravian half of the field. She distributed the ball to Shank, who slipped through the defense and transferred it to Ehrman, who scored in regulation with 3:12.

Ehlman recently returned to the game after taking some time off to focus on the sidelines.

“We asked her to play and play the way she knows how to play,” Warriors coach Scott Horton said.

Ultimately, the Warriors’ undefeated run won, even if the streak ended.

“We just put a lot of effort into it,” McAuliffe said. “We’ve been working hard for weeks on this.”

Moravian, who lost 2-0 to Wilson on 14 September, almost avenged their only defeat of the season.

“I thought we played really well. I wish we could have held them off in those last four minutes,” Lions coach Wendy Sheets said. “I think in the end we showed we were definitely there. I think we were able to win it.”

Moravian could have missed the result entirely had they not endured a string of cards in the fourth quarter.

“We had some adversity with three cards. They didn’t have cards. I think it was a pretty physical match,” Sheets said. “I wish it was a little more fair. It might change the outcome of the match.”

Wilson’s current record and top position in the Colonial League standings isn’t exactly surprising given the program’s recent history, but it’s notable when compared to where the team was a few seasons ago. Battling attendance numbers, the Warriors went winless for almost four years (1,443 days) before snapping a winning streak in 2016.

Wilson won 10 games last season and qualified for the league and district playoffs.

“We play every game to win no matter what,” Horton said. “The first season they didn’t win for four years, every game that year, we played to win. That’s why I won the match I went to in the year of

“…I’m happy where they are, but not too surprised. I know they’re working hard…that’s why we’re here.” .

All that success brought a huge crowd to the middle school for the team’s senior night.

“That’s one of the things I said to the girls. I said, you’re not playing alone. You have the support of the whole community and you’re not alone on the field.” said Horton. We built it, and there’s a lot of buzz around field hockey teams this year.”

Both Sheets and Horton agreed Thursday’s contest would be a great preparation for the Colonial League and District 11 Class A bracket.

“It’s hard to play 100 mph like we’ve been playing for so long. We’re winning these close games week after week,” Horton said. “If it’s a draw, we’ll draw it before the playoffs. Can we learn from that? Absolutely. Will we be a better team when we face these teams in the playoffs? I believe so. We are… there is no doubt that we are ready.”

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