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Virginia field hockey eliminated from NCAA Tournament

virginia uvaThe No. 5 Virginia field hockey team (15-5) had its season come to an end with a 3-2 loss in double overtime to No. 11 Princeton (12-6) on Saturday (Nov. 11) in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Field Hockey Championship at University Hall Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va.

Princeton’s Ryan McCarthy scored the game-winner 8:13 into the second overtime.

The Tigers took an early lead, scoring a goal just two minutes into the contest, but first-half scores from junior Greta Ell (Plains, Pa.) and senior Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) gave UVA a 2-1 lead at the break. McCarthy tied the game by converting a penalty stroke with just under 13 minutes remaining in regulation.

Virginia outshot the Tigers 19-9 in the game, including a 3-1 advantage in the first overtime, but Princeton goalkeeper Grace Baylis made 10 saves to keep the Ivy League champions in the game.

“This was a tough loss,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison. “The end of the season is always hard, but this was especially tough. We possessed the ball well and created many scoring opportunities today. We outshot them today by a wide margin, but the bottom line comes down to being able to put the ball into the goal. I want to commend my seniors. They did an amazing job this year. I wish them well.”

Princeton’s Elise Wong scored the first goal of the game, deflecting in a shot after the Tiger’s first goal of the game. Ell evened the score by smashing a shot into the upper corner of the net 16:15 into the game. Freshman Pien Dicke (Den Haag, Netherlands) picked up a steal and then set up a score by Vittese to give UVA a 2-1 lead.

         

The Cavaliers were called for a foul in front of the goal 22:38 into the second half. The team asked for a video review of the call, but the referees upheld the decision and McCarthy skied a shot into the net to tie the game.

Princeton’s Nicole Catalino picked up a yellow card with 10 seconds remaining in regulation, putting the Tigers a man down for the first 4:50 of overtime, but the defense withstood Virginia’s extra attacker. The Tigers took a shot off a penalty corner that went into the net with 2:52 remaining that was determined to be too high by the refs on the field. Princeton asked for a video review, with the potential game-winner on the line, but the call was upheld and the shot was ruled a no-goal and the two teams finished out the 15-minute bonus period still knotted at two.

In the second overtime, Dicke was issued a yellow card five minutes into the period, giving Princeton the extra man, but Maddie Bacskai was carded two minutes later, making it an even six-on-six situation. Sophie Tornetta passed a ball over to McCarthy who took a shot from her backhand side that sailed into the goal and earned the Tigers the victory a minute into the six-on-six play.

This is the second straight year that Princeton ended Virginia’s season as the Tigers scored a goal in the final seconds of last year’s NCAA quarterfinal game to win by the same 3-2 margin.

Princeton will face No. 4 North Carolina on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Turf Field after the Tar Heels downed Saint Joseph’s, 4-0, in the first game of the day. The winner of Sunday’s quarterfinal game will advance to the NCAA semifinals on Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. The NCAA Championship game will take place on Nov. 19 at the University of Louisville.

Vittese finishes the season with 25 goals and 14 assists for 64 points. The two-time NFHCA National Player of the Year, two-time ACC Offensive Player of the Year and four-time first team All-ACC honoree finishes her collegiate career with 195 points, ranking third in the Virginia record book. She also ranks third with 51 assists and fifth with 72 goals.

 
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