Vittese’s five-goal game powers UVA past Monmouth
The No. 10 Virginia field hockey team (3-1, 0-0 ACC) closed out the weekend with a 5-3 victory over Monmouth (2-2, 0-0 MAAC) on Sunday (Sept. 3) at University Hall Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va.
Senior midfielder Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) scored all five of the Cavaliers’ goals, the first time a Virginia player scored five times in a single game since Su Cox did so in a 1975 game against Sweet Briar.
Virginia held a 3-0 lead at the half, with Vittese picking up the hat trick in the first 23 minutes of play, but Monmouth fought back, scoring two goals in the first six minutes of the second half to make it a one-goal game. Vittese converted a penalty stroke nine minutes into the second half to give UVA some breathing room, but the Hawks closed to within one again after scoring on a penalty corner two minutes later. Vittese scored her fifth goal with under four minutes remaining to give the Cavaliers a 5-3 edge.
“I thought we worked hard and followed the game plan on the attack today,” said head coach Michele Madison. “We were able to generate a lot of attack in the circle with 10 corners and 25 total shots. We are getting positive results, which is what is important. Monmouth fought their way back into the game, but we held tight when our backs were against the wall and pulled out the win.”
Vittese started the game by converting UVA’s very first penalty corner 5:39 into the contest. Virginia’s second goal also came off a penalty corner with sophomore striker Erin Shanahan (Pasadena, Md.) passing the ball back and forth with Vittese after the insertion before Vittese shot the ball into the net. Vittese’s third goal came 12 minutes before halftime when she smashed a loose ball into the upper corner of the net.
Monmouth scored its first goal less than a minute into the second half when Julie Laszlo found herself in a 1-on-1 with the goalie, but instead of taking the shot, passed the ball onto Rachel Konowal who had sneaked around to the wide-open side of the goal. Five minutes later, the Hawks Georgia Garden Bachop smashed a long pass into the circle that deflected off the stick of Josephine van der Hoop into the net to make it a 3-2 game. After the Vittese penalty stroke, Lazlo scored a goal off a corner to again make it a one-point game. Senior back Nadine de Koning (Laren, Netherlands) made a stick-stop after a penalty corner insertion, dribbled the ball for a moment until she could cleanly connect with Vittese who fired in a shot into the upper corner of the net to give the Cavaliers an insurance goal in the final five minutes of play.
Virginia took 25 shots in the game while Monmouth fired off 20. Each team had 10 penalty corners. Redshirt junior Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.) made seven saves while Monmouth’s Christen Piersanti stopped 11 shots.
Vittese has 31 points in four games this season, with 12 goals and seven assists. The two-time national player of the year also improved to 15-of-15 in her career on penalty stroke conversions. It was the fourth hat trick of her career and her third this season.
The Cavaliers finish off their season-opening home stand next weekend when they host No. 2 Duke (3-0, 0-0 ACC) on Friday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. Admission is free for all of Virginia’s regular-season home field hockey games.