TOWSON, Md. — An hour-long lightning delay wasn't enough to slow down Goucher's continuing strong play to start the 2014 season.
Rachel Crain (Charlotte Hall, Md./Chopticon) and Justine Ruhlin (Cornish, Maine/Sacopee Valley) each scored first half goals before the stoppage, and the Gophers held off a late challenge from Neumann to come away with a 2-1 victory and move to 3-0 for the first time since 2011.
Crain and Ruhlin have now tallied in each of the season's first three games. Goucher successfully defended a penalty corner with no time remaining on the clock to preserve the win.
"We faced a strong, aggressive team today, and it was great preparation for our Landmark matches later in the season," head coach Megan Williams said. "The girls worked really hard, and our defense saved us down the stretch."
The Gophers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, with Crain stuffing a shot past Knight goalie Summer Sklivas just 33 seconds into the opening half. Annie Carter (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) picked up her first assist of the season on the strike.
Goucher kept up its early pressure and was eventually rewarded with a second goal. Emily Jewell (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) fired a shot from the top of the circle which was deflected by Emily Gill (White Hall, Md./North Harford) towards Ruhlin, who deposited the ball past Sklivas to double the lead with 13:21 left in the half.
That would turn out to be the last play before the lightning delay. The Gophers held an 8-2 advantage in shots before the unscheduled break.
When play resumed, Neumann (1-3) managed five shots before the end of the first half, but only two of those were on goal and both were stopped by Demie Huffman (Granville, Ohio/Granville). The junior goalkeeper made three saves overall in the victory.
The Knights finally broke through with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Lindsey Spatola sent a cross over from the right side which found the stick of Jordan Hopkins, who directed a shot past Huffman.
Goucher's defense was up the task after that marker, however, preventing Neumann from getting a single shot off in the remainder of the contest.
For the game, the Gophers held a 16-11 advantage in shots, led by three each from Ruhlin, Jewell and Lizzie Barminski (Ventura, Calif./Buena).
Goucher returns to action on Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. road matchup at Stevenson.