COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College field hockey team opened its season in thrilling fashion on Friday, pushing No. 3 Rowan to the brink before falling just short in a 5-4 double overtime barnburner.
Gemma Dufoe and Gabriela Howell each finished with a goal and an assist and Addie Frey was sensational in her first collegiate start in cage for the Bears, who went blow for blow with a 2018 Final Four squad in a back-and-forth battle that featured four ties and three lead changes. The Profs had the last word when Liz Fox tapped in a pass from Bridget Guinan with 4:36 remaining in the second extra session.
Rowan controlled play for much of the first half, firing off four quick shots on target in the opening minutes only for Frey to turn each away with a series of dazzling stops. Ursinus then drew first blood on its first chance of the contest, as senior Anna Hall stopped a corner insert from Howell and left it off for junior Devon Carroll, who blasted a shot into the lower left corner of the cage for the first goal of the new campaign.
The Profs turned the tide with two goals in a span of just over three minutes bridging the first-quarter break, but the Bears were level again when Dufoe was in the right spot at the right time to deposit a crossing pass from senior Erin Saybolt with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half.
Guinan gave the lead back to Rowan early in the third quarter before Ursinus began to flex its muscle, knotting the game at 3-3 on Dufoe's pass to Howell and seizing the upper hand as Jamie Mayer dribbled around the goalie and scored into an open cage to make it 4-3 midway through the period.
The Profs equalized once more just under three minutes into the fourth and, despite multiple chances for both sides, neither squad could find a winner in regulation.
Both teams traded opportunities in overtime until Guinan dribbled into the circle and dished off for Fox, who had a simple task to tuck the ball into the cage and send the Profs home a winner.
Kristiina Castagnola had two goals for Rowan, which held a 31-24 edge in shots and a 13-7 advantage in corners. Morgan Novak finished with 16 saves.
Frey racked up a career-high 17 saves for the Bears.
Ursinus takes on another top-5 power on Wednesday, when No. 4 Messiah comes to Collegeville for a 7 p.m. showdown.