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Late Penalty Stroke Save Denies Eagles Top-Four Finish

claire ashley goes to block a shot

BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Roanoke goalie Emma Clark saved a penalty stroke with less than two minutes remaining to hold off the Bridgewater College field hockey team 1-0 on Thursday at Jopson Field.

Freshman defender Claire Ashley made a defensive save in the second half and then nearly created the tying goal with 1:56 remaining. She played a perfect pass from the right sideline all the way to Tessa Tierson in front of goal, leaving Roanoke no choice but to foul the Eagle forward.

The stroke was called, giving Bridgewater a chance to force overtime. Clark made a tough save up high on Kelsey Hicks however to protect the shutout.

Roanoke took the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. A cross from the left side deflected off the stick of Jacqueline DiFulvio but fell right in the path of a charging Claudia Roncone, who slotted it under Ali Bishop to make it 1-0.

Emilee Wooten appeared to have put a slap shot into the net from an early penalty corner, but a foul was whistled beforehand. At the other end Tierson skipped through several defenders and centered a dangerous ball to Caroline Quigley that was blocked by a defender.

The first save of the contest came over 15 minutes in, when Bishop blocked Katie Martin from close range. Roncone nearly assisted on a goal right after scoring herself, but Wooten slid her shot just wide.

The Maroons earned two penalty corners with no time left on the first half clock. Lauren Heffron chipped a ball into the goalmouth and Bishop came up with a big save to deny Kestrel Thome-Kaunelis.

It also took 15 minutes in the second half for the first shot on goal of the period. Bishop saved Wooten on a penalty corner, and Wooten's rebound was cleared off the line by Ashley.

Bridgewater is the only ODAC team not in action this weekend, as the Eagles finish their regular season at 8-8, 4-4. BC will see a streak of six straight top-four conference finishes end, as the Roanoke defeat eliminates them from contention for a home quarterfinal game.

The Eagles will instead go on the road Tuesday for the first round of ODAC postseason play, with the opponent still to be determined.