Field hockey: UVA tops Wake Forest, 2-1

uva field hockeyThe No. 23 UVA field hockey team (6-8, 2-4 ACC) picked up a 2-1 victory over No. 14 Wake Forest (8-7, 2-4 ACC) on Friday (Oct. 19) at Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va.

The game was tied, 1-1, at halftime and remained knotted until freshman Annie McDonough (Kennett Square, Pa.) scored the game-winner with 4:16 remaining in regulation. It was her first collegiate goal. Freshman Amber Ezechiels (Niew-Vennep, Netherlands) scored the Cavaliers’ first goal of the game, her third of the season.

“This is what a total team effort looks like,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison. “I am so proud of the effort they put in all week to make this happen. They deserve every bit of this. I am also proud to see them do this against a really good team.”

Ezechiels scoring opportunity came ten minutes into the game, as she converted a penalty corner opportunity into a goal. Ezechiels smashed in a shot from the top of the circle after an injection from junior Anzel Viljoean (Matamata, New Zealand) and a stick-stop from senior Nikki Freeman (Downington, Pa.). It was the Cavaliers’ first shot of the game, and just the second overall in the contest. Virginia would finish the half with an 11-3 shot differential, but Wake Forest made the most of their minimal opportunities, tying up the game with 2:35 remaining in the first half as Kelsey Gill tapped in a second-chance shot after an initial save.

The Cavaliers had some good opportunities in the second half, including earning their first of three penalty corners in the first three minutes of the period, but a shot from Ezechiels was blocked. The Cavaliers had a two-man-up opportunity with 10 minutes remaining in the game after one Wake player was given a yellow card and another received a green card a minute later. The Demon Deacons withstood the two minutes of being shorthanded two players, but while still down one player, UVA freshman Grace Wallis (Blue Bell, Pa.) fired off a shot on goal and though the attempt was saved, drew a penalty to set up a corner. The Cavaliers passed the ball around after the insertion with junior Erin Shanahan (Pasadena, Md.) sending the ball from just outside the circle to McDonough on the left side of the goal, with McDonough knocking it in to put the Cavaliers ahead.

Junior Colleen Norair (Fredericksburg, Va.) had a dramatic defensive save midway through the period, knocking a ball out of the air right before it sailed over the goal line and into the net.

Wake Forest pulled its goalie with 2:47 remaining to give itself an extra attacker. The Demon Deacons earned a penalty corner with 40 seconds remaining in the game, but their shot was blocked and the Cavaliers managed to clear the ball out of the circle and dribble out the final seconds of the game to secure the victory.

Virginia finished with a 19-9 advantage in shots. Senior goalkeeper Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.) had a pair of saves while Wake Forest’s Isla Bint made nine.

The Cavaliers close out the home portion of their schedule on Sunday, Oct. 21 when they host No. 2 Maryland (16-1, 6-1 Big Ten) at Turf Field at 2 p.m. The contest will be Virginia’s annual Senior Day game, with a special pregame ceremony slated to begin at 1:45 p.m.

Admission is free for all of Virginia’s regular-season home field hockey games. The game will stream on ACC Network Extra, which is available to authenticated subscribers of ESPN3 through WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Fans can also keep up with the action through live stats on VirginiaSports.com.

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