For the third time in the last four games, freshman midfielder Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) set up sophomore striker Caleigh Foust (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) for the overtime game-winner, with today’s winning shot coming 2:52into the bonus period.
The victory is Virginia’s sixth-straight victory and second-consecutive win over a top-10 team, after earning a 2-1 road win at No. 3 Duke on Friday night (Sept. 19). Three of Virginia’s last four games have been won in overtime with Vittese assisting and Foust scoring the game-winner in each of the overtime games.
“The Vittese-Foust connection worked again,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison. “The team knows that in overtime, you have to play deliberately. You have to get into open spaces and play the whole field. They learned last week that it works, so they brought that knowledge onto the field in overtime today. This is a huge win for us over Albany. To defeat the No. 3 and No. 7 teams in one weekend is a credit to our team’s effort and determination.”
Albany controlled the ball for the majority of the first half, outshooting Virginia 9-5 in the opening period. Virginia took its first shot 25:19 into the game when Vittese found sophomore midfielder Lucy Hyams (Whitstable, England) open at the top of the circle. Hyams fired off an immediate shot, scoring to give Virginia a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Virginia had back-to-back penalty corner opportunities. On the second short corner, Vittese took the initial shot, which was saved by Albany goalkeeper Maxi Primus. Sophomore striker Katie Kelly (Phoenixville, Pa.) picked up the loose ball after the save, giving Virginia a 2-0 lead with 5:30 remaining in the first half.
Albany cut the Virginia lead in half seven minutes into the second half, scoring a second-chance goal of their own after an initial shot and save on a penalty corner. The Great Danes tied the game, 2-2, with 10 minutes left in regulation when s shot by Kelly Bonner was initially stopped by Virginia senior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone (Paisley, Scotland), but the ball rolled down her leg pad and into the goal.
Both teams had good looks at the goal in the final minutes of play. Virginia had a penalty corner with three minutes remaining with freshman back Becca Zamojcin (Phoenixville, Pa.) taking a shot that clinked off the post. Albany charged to the opposite end with Paula Heuser shooting wide of the net. With under a minute to play, Virginia took a pair of shots at the net with Primus making a save and Albany’s Jaclyn Hibbs sweeping a loose ball away from the goal line for a defensive save to send the game into overtime.
Virginia had three early shots in the extra period, including a ball by Vittese off a penalty corner that was wide of the mark, however Virginia’s fourth shot, a smash by Foust after receiving a pass in the circle after a breakaway by Vittese, ended the game 2:52 into the extra period. Albany did not take a shot in overtime.
Each team totaled 15 shots in the game. Johnstone ended the game with six saves, improving to 7-1 on the season. Primus made five saves, falling to 6-2.
Virginia will play its third-straight top-10 opponent when they host No. 4 Syracuse (6-2, 0-2 ACC) on Friday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at Turf Field. Virginia will close out the weekend with a Sunday, Sept. 28, 1 p.m. game against unranked Vermont.