TOWSON, Md. — Scoring opportunities become all the more precious the longer a college field hockey game remains scoreless, particularly for a team that is trying to end a losing streak to the other that has reached double figures.
Goucher had only a few chances to get on the scoreboard against Stevenson tonight and each time one went unfulfilled, it seemed as though head coach Megan Williams' players became even more determined to find a way to break the scoreless tie with the Mustangs and pick up their first win over their in-state rival since 2005.
That resolve finally produced a goal with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. The Gophers were awarded a penalty corner and, on a set play, freshman forward/midfielder Jackie Juarez (Glendora, Calif./Glendora) inserted the ball to Lizzie Barminski (Ventura, Calif./Buena) and the junior midfielder let loose with a shot that the opposing keeper had little chance of stopping.
There was still the matter of that 3:27 still remaining in regulation and the visiting Mustangs forced goalie Demie Huffman (Granville, Ohio/Granville) to make three additional saves for a final total of six before the Gophers could celebrate the 1-0 triumph that brought their 10-game losing streak against Stevenson to a halt.
Less than two minutes before Barminski's goal, Goucher was awarded a penalty stroke because Gabriella Brooks, the starting goalie for the Mustangs, was whistled for intentionally shielding the ball during a cluster in the box that involved several players from both teams. The attempt failed, however, because Brooks was able to get a hand on the shot that was taken by Rachel Crain (Charlotte Hall, Md./Chopticon).
Brooks finished with five saves.
The Mustangs (0-4) came close to scoring before game was even five minutes old. Only a defensive save by junior defender Danielle Hallacker (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Twp.) on a shot by Rosemarie Neiva kept the visitors from an early 1-0 advantage.
It was Hallacker's second defensive save of the season and fourth of her career.
"Defensively, we were very solid tonight, and that goes for everybody on defense," Williams said following the game. "A big win against an opponent we've come close to several times, but couldn't get the 'win' until now."
The Gophers will go after their third win of the season on Saturday when Ferrum pays a visit to Beldon Field. Starting time for the game is 4 p.m.