LORETTO, Pa. – Appalachian State University field hockey used Veerle Van Heertum’s strike off a penalty corner to win its fifth-straight game for the first time since 1996.
The Mountaineers (5-0) reeled off five-straight victories to close out the 1996 campaign, beginning the winning streak with a win over Louisville.
App State’s 1-0 victory over Saint Francis (0-5) was also its first in program history. Appalachian’s fourth shutout of the season ranks first in the nation, securing shutouts in 80% of its games this season.
“Today was another hard-fought game, and I’m proud of our team for stepping up to the challenge,” head coach Meghan Dawson said. “Our backfield did a great job intercepting the ball and keeping it out of our defensive zone.”
After outshooting the Red Flash 9-1 in the first half, the Mountaineers broke the deadlock with Van Heertum’s goal less than three minutes into the second half. Van Heertum gathered a layoff pass from sophomore Friederike Stegen off a penalty corner before firing it into the goal cage. Van Heertum’s score in the third quarter was her first of 2019.
Appalachian’s defense stifled the Red Flash attack, allowing just three shots. Saint Francis earned its best scoring chance in the fourth quarter off a penalty corner, but senior goalkeeper Rachel Gaines made the critical save to keep App State in the lead. Gaines’ fourth shutout of the season boosted her save percentage to .905, which ranks second in the nation.
The Mountaineers dominated the Red Flash in scoring opportunities, holding a 24-3 advantage in shot attempts. The Mountaineers also registered 10 of their 24 attempts on goal. Seven Mountaineers notched at least two shots, including Van Heertum, Stegen, junior Meghan Smart, junior Chloe Bell, freshman Pauline Mangold, freshman Rachel Fleig and freshman Carli Ciocco.
Appalachian also paced Saint Francis 10-3 in penalty corners, earning six attempts in the final period.
The Mountaineers conclude their Pennsylvania road trip at Lock Haven (2-3) on Sunday. Sunday’s matchup is set to start at noon.
“The team is pumped to be 5-0 and making history,” Dawson said. “However, we know we still have a ton to improve on, and we have another game right around the corner against a good Lock Haven team.”