Field hockey: UVA finishes regular season with 3-2 win over JMU

uva field hockeyThe No. 8 UVA field hockey team (12-7, 3-3 ACC) closed out the regular season by earning a 3-2 victory over James Madison (11-6, 3-2 CAA) on Sunday (Oct. 30) at University Hall Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va.

Goals from seniors Caleigh Foust (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and Riley Tata (Virginia Beach, Va.) and first-year Erin Shanahan (Pasadena, Md.) gave the Cavaliers a 3-1 lead. After Foust was issued a green card with 8:13 remaining in the game, the Dukes pulled their goalie to give themselves a two-man-up advantage. Melanie Kusakavitch capitalized on the opportunity, scoring a goal on a second-chance shot to make it a one-goal game with 1:11 remaining, but the Cavaliers held on for the victory.

“This was a really good win against JMU as they are a tough opponent,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison. “The Dukes came and gave it everything. They dug really deep and put a lot of pressure on us, but we were able to handle it. It was a nice win on Senior Day, but I’m really just happy that we aren’t finished yet and still have the postseason with them.”

Foust scored the first goal just over four and a half minutes before the end of the first period after picking up a loose ball in front of the net and firing a blistering shot into the goal. Midway through the second half, the Cavaliers had a failed penalty corner, but as JMU was setting up to clear the ball out of the back, sophomore Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) swept in and stole the ball off the stick of a JMU player. Tata made a quick break for the corner of the goal and got there in time to deflect in a sharp pass from Vittese. Two minutes later, a Cavalier forward took a shot that was blocked, but Shanahan got to the rebound, dribbling it around the goal keeper to put in a shot to make it 3-0. Two minutes later, Casey O’Donnell flew a shot into the upper corner of the net to make it 3-1 with 11 minutes left in the game.

The Dukes’ goal with 1:11 remaining was a second-chance goal after sophomore Carrera Lucas making the initial save on an attempt from Hannah Hall before Kusakavitch knocked in the ball.

The Cavaliers had a penalty corner to end the game, but the Dukes’ defense forced Tata to take a shot wide of the empty net.

Lucas ended the game with six saves. JMU’s Sara Kraeutler had nine saves. Freshman Dominique van Slooten (Laren, Netherlands) picked up her third defensive save of the season.

Tata’s goal was her 11th of the season, which ties her for the team lead. Vittese added her team-leading 30th point of the season with her assist on Tata’s goal.

Tata and Foust were among the nine seniors honored in the Cavaliers’ annual Senior Day ceremony that took place on the field following the game.

Virginia finished conference play tied for third place in the ACC alongside North Carolina, Louisville and Boston College with a 3-3 record. By virtue of tiebreakers, the Cavaliers will be the No. 6 seed in the ACC Tournament, facing third-seeded Boston College in the first round at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. All of the games of the tournament will air on the ACC Regional Sports Network.

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