Lynchburg, Va. -- For the second straight season, University of Lynchburg's field hockey team will play for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship.
Top-seeded Lynchburg cruised past No. 4 seed Roanoke, 3-1, Friday night in the first of two league semifinals on the Hornets' Shellenberger Field, setting up a date with second-seeded Shenandoah at 6 p.m. Saturday for the crown.
Senior forward Isabella Eldridge (Mount Pleasant, S.C.), sophomore forward Emily Dudley (Westminster, Md.), and sophomore forward Jackie Lerro (Royersford, Pa.) each scored for Lynchburg. Lerro also added an assist in the winning effort.
Roanoke started the game in control, but a key save from Lynchburg sophomore goalkeeper Laurel Nicks (Yorktown, Va.) on the Maroons' only shot of the first half helped the Hornets settle in.
After gathering themselves, Lynchburg went on the attack. That momentum culminated with a goal shortly following a penalty corner in the 16th minute, when senior forward Nikki Simpao (Stafford, Va.) played a ball across the arc to Eldridge, who was there to knock it in at the far post.
Lynchburg scored again in the 28th minute as Lerro played a ball from the right post back and center to Dudley, who struck it home. The Hornets took that 2-0 advantage into halftime as Maroons goalkeeper Emma Clark stymied any further damage with six first-half saves, along with a defensive save by Roanoke's Kestrel Thorne-Kaunelis.
After the break proved much the same, with Lynchburg on the offensive. The Hornets made it a 3-0 contest in the 45th minute, again following a penalty corner. Senior midfielder Kayla Copeman's (Williamsburg, Va.) play-in found freshman midfielder Kaylie Truitt (Lewes, Del.) at the top of the circle, and Truitt's shot was deflected in by Lerro.
Roanoke's Emilee Wooten put the Maroons on the board in the 54th minute, but the Lynchburg defense held strong through the driving rain to carry the 3-1 advantage to completion.
It was the Hornets' second-straight dispatching of Roanoke in the semifinals of the tournament.
Lynchburg finds itself back in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship game for the second-straight season, having fallen in overtime last year at Washington and Lee. If Lynchburg can capture the title, it will be the 19th in program history, all under current head coach Enza Steele, and its first since 2014.
*Note: Play-by-play statistics for Friday's first half are incomplete due to technical difficulties. This will be corrected later Friday evening.*