The No. 2 ranked Eagles traveled to North Carolina for the 2012 Meredith College National Invitational Classic last weekend, where they faced Johns Hopkins University (Md.) on Friday and Meredith College (N.C.) on Saturday. Emory finished the tournament with a tie and win. The team now sits at 3-0-1 on the season, extending Emory’s regular season winning streak to 27 games.

“The fact that we have three wins and a tie four games in … we’re very happy,” Head Coach Sue Patberg said.

In Friday’s contest against Johns Hopkins, the Blue Jays came out determined and took a dominant 2-0 lead after 45 minutes of play. The Blue Jays were quick to get on the scoreboard, notching their first goal at the 3:51 mark.

Johns Hopkins then extended its 1-0 lead during the 35th minute of play, when freshman forward Issy Berkey netted a goal.

“Johns Hopkins was a very tough game; we were on our heels and couldn’t get in rhythm,” Patberg said. “Sometimes you walk into halftime … [and] the kids seem defeated, but that was nowhere to be found.”

In the second frame,Emory began to turn around the game and gain some control. In the 63rd minute of play, the Eagles cut their opponents lead in half after sophomore midfielder Claudia Rowe scored her first career goal. Rowe scored the goal off sophomore forward Karina Rodriguez’s corner kick at the 63:23 mark.

It remained a 2-1 tally until the final minutes of the second half. In the 81st minute of play, sophomore forward Charlotte Butker crossed the ball to junior center midfield co-captain Kelly Costopoulos, who then headed the ball passed the Blue Jays’ keeper for the equalizer.

It was Costopoulous’ first goal of the season, and the first assist of the year for Butker. With neither team scoring in the final nine minutes of play, the Eagles would head to overtime for the third straight game.

The Eagles carried over their momentum from the second frame, as Butker took the only shot in the first overtime period. Both teams were unable to score a game-winning goal in the first overtime period, sending the game to a second one.

In the second overtime period, neither team would find the back of the net, resulting in a final score of 2-2.

Senior goalkeeper Kaele Leonard played the second half and the remainder of the game for the Eagles’ in goal. Leonard had to make just one save in the game and gave up zero goals in the match, which extends her scoreless minutes streak to 179:15 this season.

The Eagles finished the match, edging the Blue Jays’ 15-2 in shots, which included a 10-7 advantage in shots on goal. Emory shutdown host team Meredith College 1-0 in Saturday’s contest.

“While it’s a win, it’s not quite as satisfying as it could have been,” Patberg said. “We’re not a well-tuned machine yet.”

While neither team netted a goal through the first 45 minutes of play, the Eagles dominated offensively in the opening frame. In the first half, Emory had six shots, five of which were on goal, while the defense held Meredith to just three shots. Eagles’ starting senior goalkeeper Erica Stein stopped all three of the Avenging Angels’ shots.

The Eagles would continue their dominance throughout the second frame and eventually were the first and only ones to get on the scoreboard halfway through the half.

Again, Costopoulos would produce offensively for the Eagles, scoring the only goal of the game off an assist from senior forward Merrill Bachourus. It was Bachouros’ first assist of the season, while Costopoulos’ now leads the team in goals with her second one of the weekend.

Along with Emory’s offense, the team’s defense would dominate and hold Meredith to no shots until the final minutes of play. In the closing seconds of the game, Leonard preserved the Eagles’ 1-0 win by saving a shot off a corner kick.

Leonard played the second half in goal for Emory, where she made one save in the game. The Eagles’ keeper is now 3-0-1 on the season. The Eagles’ defense earned their second shutout this season, as they have allowed just three goals in over 404 minutes of play.

“Kelly had two goals this weekend as an attacking midfielder, and our back played very well,” Patberg said. “When you have a comeback tie it’s hard to say who didn’t play well, because it takes everyone.”

The Eagles had four players named to the all-tournament team – Costopoulos, junior defender Lauren Gorodetsky, junior midfielder Clare Mullins and Rodriguez.

“We are proud of our players after two hard road trips, and [we] are very excited to be home,” Patberg said.

The Eagles will now focus their attention to the home-opening series, where they will play Sewanee University (Tenn.) on Saturday and Roanoke College (Va.) on Sunday at the Woodruff PE Center.

– By Elizabeth Weinstein

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