OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Stevenson field hockey senior Caitlin Dempsey provided both assists during regulation and then scored the dramatic game-winner with just 15 seconds remaining in overtime as the Mustangs held off local rival Goucher 3-2 Tuesday night at Mustang Stadium.
Stevenson (4-1) has won four out of its first five games to start the season for the second-straight year in a row. In 2014, the team started 5-1 which marks the best start to a season in school history.
Sophomore Holli Eppley got the Mustangs on the board just 90 seconds into the game. Dempsey controlled the ball at the top of the circle, drove to the center and slid a pass off to the right where Eppley was on the spot to give Stevenson a 1-0 lead.
The hosts looked to double their lead 13 minutes into the contest after earning back-to-back penalty corners, but senior Ariella Hopp was turned away on back-to-back efforts, sending one wide before being denied by Gopher goalie Demie Huffman.
The Mustangs outshot the visitors 6-1 in the first half while earning five penalty corners compared to just two for Goucher.
The second half was more of the same as Stevenson pounded the Gopher goal. Dempsey looked to add to the Mustangs' lead twice in the opening 10 minutes, but Huffman was up to the task.
Finally, with 11:28 left in regulation, senior Alison Kagel charged in after initiating a penalty corner to deflect a pass tic-tac-toe pass from Dempsey and senior Meg Gill to double the Stevenson lead, 2-0.
However, Goucher (3-1) scored two goals in the final three minutes to push the game into overtime. The Gophers got on the board on a solo effort by Lizzie Barminksi with less than three minutes remaining before Kristen Shklanko scored on the doorstep to tie the game at 2-2 with just 57 seconds remaining.
In overtime, the Mustangs were once again on the front foot, but could not convert an early penalty corner.
With time running out in the first overtime period, Dempsey collected the ball with her back to goal, averted two defenders and scored on a diving shot low into the far corner to give Stevenson its second consecutive overtime win.
In four seasons under head coach Laurel Martin, the Mustangs are 5-3 in overtime games and 8-13 in one-goal games.
Dempsey already has six goals and 16 points in just five games this season and 32 goals and 78 points in 43 games in two-plus seasons at Stevenson. She also has eight game-winning tallies.
In making her first start in goal for the Mustangs, freshman Cori Kosko made three saves to earn her first career win.
Stevenson returns to action this Saturday, September 13 when the Mustangs conclude their four-game homestand against St. Mary's (Md.) beginning at 7:00 p.m.