Cavaliers Continue Four-Game Homestand
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The 11th-ranked Virginia field hockey team continues its four-game homestand this week, playing host first to Vermont at 3 p.m. Friday. The Cavaliers then return to the University Hall Turf Field to battle in-state rival Old Dominion at 1 p.m. Sunday. All UVa field hockey games are free of admission.
The Cavaliers are coming of two wins last week, including a 5-0 shutout over William & Mary and a 4-1 victory against Providence. Five different players scored Friday over the Tribe and four different players notched goals Sunday against the Friars.
“We are focusing on getting back in a competitive mode for a big weekend,” said Michele Madison, UVa head coach. “We are going to be ready when the whistle blows and work on continuing to improve.”
Virginia is ranked 11th in the STX/NFHCA preseason poll, released last Tuesday. The Cavaliers also began the year at No. 8 in the womensfieldhockey.com poll that came out on Monday. Old Dominion began the season at No. 8 in the STX/NFHCA preseason poll but was slated in the No. 18 spot in the latest womensfieldhockey.com rankings.
Vermont opened its season with a 4-1 loss at then-No. 13 Boston College last weekend. Against the Eagles, Maegan Luce scored the lone goal and goalkeeper Kristen Heavens recorded four saves in the cage.
Virginia leads the all-time series with Vermont, 1-0. The two teams met for the first time last season, a 2-1 UVa victory on the road. The Cavaliers went on to claim the Sheraton Catamount Classic after knocking off New Hampshire. Inge Kaars Sijpesteijn and Traci Ragukas tallied goals for Virginia last year against the Catamounts, who entered that game with a school record 5-0 mark.
Old Dominion, meanwhile, dropped two games last week, a 2-0 loss to then-No. 6 Penn State Friday and a 5-0 setback to then-No. 18 Syracuse Saturday. Against the Nittany Lions, senior goalkeeper Kelly Driscoll notched a career-high 13 saves. Against the Orange, ODU allowed all five goals in the second half.
The Monarchs lead the all-time series with Virginia, 32-8. ODU has claimed the last 11 meetings between the two teams. Two of those Old Dominion wins were in the NCAA semifinals in 1997 and 1998 – the only two times Virginia has advanced to the semis. Last season, ODU claimed a 3-1 win in Norfolk. Traci Ragukas scored the lone goal for UVa.
“This weekend is another chance to keep making improvements to our system and move it to the next level,” said UVA associate head coach Chris Spice. “These games will be more difficult and we are going to have to step it up and play with confidence. We also need to play to our strengths. We play fast and move the ball up the field. We’ll need to keep the tempo up.”