The UVA field hockey team (9-10) had its season come to an end with a 2-1 loss at Princeton (13-4) in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Field Hockey Championship on Friday (Nov. 9) at Bedford Field in Princeton, N.J.
Princeton, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, but the Cavaliers evened things up on a goal by sophomore Makayla Gallen (Glen Mills, Pa.) with 2:35 remaining before the break. Princeton scored the game winner 10 minutes into the second half, converting a penalty corner opportunity.
“Every game we just kept getting better,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison. “It is a shame that the season has to end, but it ends in an honorable way, with a great display of talent and grit and fight. The seniors did a phenomenal job leading this team through a season of adversity and challenges to become their best in the end. I am proud of all of them.”
The game began as a battle of the midfield with the teams combining for one shot through the first 17 minutes of the game. Princeton took its second shot 21 minutes into the contest with senior Nikki Freeman (Downington, Pa.) making a defensive save on the attempt. The Tigers hit paydirt with their third attempt, a long pass from Hannah Davey being converted into a score by Clara Roth. In the final four minutes of the first half, Virginia had its first scoring opportunity, earning a penalty corner, but the shot by freshman Amber Ezechiels (Niew-Vennep, Netherlands) was blocked. The Cavaliers were awarded a second corner. Ezechiels again took a shot from the top of the circle, this time with Gallen deflecting the ball into the corner of the net. Princeton had a penalty corner to close out the first half, but the Cavaliers blocked the shot.
The Tigers came out strong in the second half. Ten minutes into the period, they earned three-straight corners, converting on the third attempt, a behind-the-back pass from Julianna Tornetta to Maddie Bacskai. The goal was scrutinized under video review with the call on the field standing, giving Princeton a 2-1 advantage with 24 minutes remaining in the game.
The score was still 2-1 with 6:36 remaining when Virginia pulled its goalie. The UVA defense denied the Tigers a shot on the empty goal, but the offense could not take advantage of the extra man on the opposite end of the field and Princeton held on for the victory.
Princeton held a 12-2 advantage in shots, including an 8-0 edge in the second half.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.) made four saves. She finishes her career with 339, ranking seventh all-time in program history.
Virginia earned one of eight at-large bids into the 18-team championship field. This was the 23rd trip to NCAA Championship for the Cavaliers and their 11th in head coach Michele Madison’s 13 seasons at Virginia.