Field hockey: #9 UVA tops #7 Penn State in OT, 4-3

uva-logo-new2The No. 9 Virginia field hockey team (2-0) earned a 4-3 overtime victory over No. 7 Penn State (0-2) on Sunday (Aug. 30) at Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va.

With the Cavaliers trailing 3-2 in the final two minutes of the game, sophomore midfielder Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) dribbled through traffic and into the circle, firing off a shot to tie the game with 1:23 remaining. Vittese set up a scoring chance in overtime by dribbling around the defense and into the circle, firing off a shot that was saved by the Penn State goalie. After the ball rebounded off the goalie’s pads, freshman striker Nikki Freeman (Downington, Pa.) corralled the ball and took a quick, on-target shot, giving the Cavaliers the victory.

“To start the season off with two home wins, especially one over a top-10 team, is great,” said head coach Michele Madison. “When we were down 3-2, I told the team in the huddle, ‘This is what we play for. This is where we have to dig deep and play for each other.’ They found a way to get that goal. In overtime, Nikki just never stops. She reads the game really well. She follows through with everything, and that is how she got the goal. Rebecca Holden had an outstanding game in goal. Normally, we split goalies, but she was on fire, and sometimes you have to stick with that fire.”

Penn State outshot the Cavaliers 20-18.

Junior goalkeeper Rebecca Holden (Fishing Creek, N.J.) made 10 saves while Penn State’s Jenny Rizzo tallied seven.

Virginia led 2-0 at halftime after freshman Greta Ell (Plains, Pa.) scored on a pass from midfielder Lucy Hyams (Whistable, England) and Hyams scored an unassisted goal in the first half. The Nittany Lions scored three-straight goals in the second half including netting their second and third less than a minute apart, taking a 3-2 lead with 10:20 remaining.

Freeman’s overtime score was her first career goal. Vittese and Hyams each have two goals and two assists this season.

Next up, the Cavaliers begin back-to-back weekend road trips by playing at Rutgers on Friday, Sept. 4 at 3 p.m.followed by a Sunday contest at No. 15 Princeton. The Rutgers game will be streamed online as part of the BTN Plus subscription package. The Cavaliers will be back at home on Friday, Sept. 18 when they host No. 5 Duke at6 p.m. at Turf Field.

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