The No. 9 UVA field hockey team (4-2, 1-0 ACC) won its ACC openerFriday night (Sept. 12) in double overtime, downing No. 11 Louisville (4-1, 0-1 ACC) by a score of 3-2.
Sophomore striker Caleigh Foust (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) deflected in a pass from freshman midfielder Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) 1:43 into the second overtime period to give the Cavaliers the victory.
“This is a huge win for us,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison. “Any ACC victory is huge and that first one is always the hardest to get. We knew we had to come out and play, not take a play off and play like a team. And that is what we did. We worked on building the attack and creating the offensive power by getting into the circle. We knew Louisville’s goalie was good, that she likes to come out and is really aggressive. We knew we had to go around her, rather than through her, and our team finally did that in the overtime. Tara was able to break through and give the finishing touch to Caleigh.”
Foust scored two goals, including the game-winner. Vittese scored a goal and had a pair of assists. Senior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone (Paisley, Scotland) made five saves.
The Cardinals, playing in their first-ever ACC contest, struck first, scoring off a penalty corner just over five minutes into the game. Vittese answered for the Cavaliers, firing in a hard shot from in front of the goal three minutes later to knot the game at one. Vittese found Foust positioned at the corner of the net with under three minutes left in the first half to give Virginia a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Louisville tied the game with just under ten minutes left in the second half, scoring off its only penalty corner opportunity of the period.
Virginia had an opportunity to win the game in the first overtime with two penalty corners in the final two minutes, but Louisville blocked the first shot and their goalkeeper, Sydney King, saved a shot by sophomore Lucy Hyams (Whitstable, England) after time expired to send the game to a second overtime period.
A minute and a half into the second overtime, Vittese intercepted a Louisville pass at midfield and raced down toward the circle, firing off an on-target pass to Foust who was open at the corner of the goal.
“After I got the ball, I immediately wanted to pass, so I looked for Lucy,” Vittese said. “But I ended up doing a backdoor cut and got wide open. I saw that Caleigh was wide-open on goal, so I passed it up to her and it worked out for us.”
Virginia outshot Louisville, 18-8. Both teams took four penalty corners.
Virginia will play its third Big Ten opponent of the season, Rutgers, on Sunday (Sept. 14) at noon to close out the current home stand. Virginia returns to conference action next Friday, Sept. 19, with a 6 p.m. game at No. 4 Duke.