Field hockey: UVA upsets No. 2 Maryland on Senior Day

uva field hockeyThe No. 23 UVA field hockey team (7-8, 2-4 ACC) closed out the home portion of its schedule by defeating No. 2 Maryland, 3-1, on Sunday (Oct. 21) at Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va.

Freshman Greer Gill (Virginia Beach, Va.) scored two goals in the first ten minutes of the game to give the Cavaliers an early 2-0 advantage. Maryland cut its deficit in half in the opening minutes of the second half, but junior Anzel Viljoen (Matamata, New Zealand) added an insurance goal for the Cavaliers with just under 10 minutes remaining as UVA held on for the victory over the Terrapins.

“We have been trying to get some traction the whole year, some goals in the back of the net, some sustained attack, something to feel good about,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison. “I am tickled for them for getting this win today and so proud of them. They stuck with it and dealt with the adversity, which has made us stronger. Today they just focused on staying simple. The game plan was working. Then they just amped up the defense and kept trying to steal balls. Maryland definitely came back in the second half with a great game. I am proud of our youth for keeping their heads and the seniors for leading the way.”

Gill scored the first goal of the game seven minutes into the contest. Junior Erin Shanahan (Pasadena, Md.) took a shot off a penalty corner that was saved by the Maryland keeper, but the ball rebounded off her pads right to Gill’s stick. Gill did not hesitate, taking a quick strike and finding net to give UVA a 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, the Cavaliers had another penalty corner with freshman Amber Ezechiels (Niew-Vennep, Netherlands) taking a shot from the top of the circle. Gill had her stick perfectly positioned to deflect the shot up into the corner of the net and spot the Cavaliers to a 2-0 advantage.

Maryland intensified its pressure in the second half and earned an early penalty corner opportunity with Linnea Gonzales scoring four-and-a-half minutes into the period. The Terrapins kept up the pressure, taking six shots in the first twenty-five minutes of the second half, with Virginia senior goalkeeper Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.) making four saves. Virginia had its first scoring opportunity of the period on a penalty corner at the 60:13 mark. Ezechiels again took a shot from the top of the circle, but this time it was Viljoen, the injector, slipping over to the corner of the net to deflect in the shot.

A minute after Virginia took its 3-1 lead, Maryland pulled its goalkeeper to have an extra attacker for the final 8:45 of the game. Virginia managed to overcome the Terps’ man-up advantage and got the ball down into the attacking circle, drawing a penalty corner with five minutes left in the game, which began a sequence of five-straight penalty corners for UVA. Maryland’s kicking back, Bodil Keus, came up with three defensive saves during the sequence. Despite not being able to add another goal, the Cavaliers did manage to drain time off the clock as there were less than two minutes left in the game before Maryland managed to get possession back. The Terps took a shot with a minute remaining, but it was saved by Lucas.

Virginia finished the game with a 15-14 shot advantage and had 10 corners while Maryland had three.

Lucas finished the game with eight saves. Gill’s two goals came on two shots.

There was a pregame ceremony honoring the Cavaliers’ seniors, including Lucas, Greta Ell (Plains, Pa.), Nikki Freeman (Downington, Pa.), Izzy McDonough (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Brooke Castleberry (Virginia Beach, Va.).

Virginia will be back on the road next week, playing the regular-season finale at William & Mary on Friday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. in Williamsburg, Va. The postseason begins at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, being held Nov. 1-4 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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