Field Hockey: #7 UVA tops #4 Duke in OT, 3-2
Senior back Anzel Viljoen (Matamata, New Zealand) tied the game with 1:02 remaining to force overtime. Sophomore back Amber Ezechiels (Niew Vennep, Netherlands) scored the game-winner 1:26 into the extra period.
After a scoreless first half, Duke scored first with Olivia Sahaydak netting a goal 7:05 into the third quarter. The Blue Devils had a prime scoring opportunity at the end of the third quarter when they were awarded a penalty corner right at the buzzer. Duke took three shots off the corner, with redshirt junior goalie Lauren Hausheer (West Windsor, N.J.) saving one and the defense blocking two other attempts to keep it a one-goal game.
The Cavaliers knotted things up 1:35 into the fourth quarter with freshman Cato Geusgens (Wassenaar, Netherlands) scoring off a penalty corner. Four minutes later, Sahaydak took another shot on goal, with that attempt stopped by a defensive save off the foot of a Virginia defender, giving Duke a penalty stroke. Haley Schleicher converted the attempt to put Duke ahead, 2-1. The Cavaliers pulled their goalie with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.
UVA made the most of their extra attacker by getting a penalty corner with 1:11 remaining. Junior midfielder Rachel Robinson (Mount Joy, Pa.) took the initial shot, which was saved by Duke’s goalie, Sammi Steele, but Viljoen lifted the rebound into the upper corner of the net to tie the game.
In overtime, the Cavaliers had first possession and were awarded a penalty corner 1:17 into the extra period. Geusgens’ initial shot from the top of the circle was saved by Steele, but Ezechiels, who had been the injector for the corner, slid over and smacked the rebound into the cage to give the Cavaliers the victory.
“Cardiac Cavs! We beat a really good team today in Duke,” UVA coach Michele Madison said. “This was a chess match between both teams. We both kept changing strategies on how to attack. In the end, I just told them ‘Go to goal! We need to get the ball in the circle’. And they did. In the fourth quarter, we pulled the goalie and I told Peyton (Tollaksen) to get up there and we were able to get a positive result. The team executed under pressure, which is critical at this time of the season. Our bench was alive. Everyone was into it. They were focused on a strong start. They didn’t let the goal get them down. They just kept grinning and grinding.”