Field Hockey Hits the Road to Face No. 7 JMU
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The 11th-ranked Virginia field hockey team (4-0) hits the road for the first time this season to face No. 7 James Madison (2-1) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Harrisonburg, Va.
The Cavaliers are unbeaten 4-0 on the season after defeating Vermont 7-2 and No. 8 Old Dominion 2-0 at home over the weekend. The last time UVa started a season 4-0 was the 2002 season, before falling on the road to the Dukes in the fifth game of the year.
James Madison is 2-1 this season with wins against Saint Louis and Ohio. Over the weekend, JMU fell to third-ranked Wake Forest on the road, 3-1.
“It will be a fast-paced game,” Virginia head coach Michele Madison said. “They have speed all over the field. It’s going to be a battle it always is.”
Nine different players have scored in Virginia’s four games this season as the Cavaliers have outscored their opponents 18-3. Third-year Traci Ragukas and first-year Michelle Vittese have paced the offensive attack with four goals apiece. Rookie Paige Selenski has also added three scores this season.
Defensively, goalkeepers Amy Desjadon and Devon Burnley have seen equal time in the cage and have combined for seven saves. The defensive corps, which includes veterans Lauren Elstein, Lucy Meyers and Shelly Edmonds and newcomer Floor Vogels, has registered two shutouts.
James Madison, meanwhile, is led by Lauren Walls, who has notched four of JMU’s eight goals on the season. Four others have each scored once. Defensively, All-American goalkeeper Kelsey Cutchins has registered nine saves on the year with one shutout.
There are several ties between cross-state rivals Virginia and James Madison. The Dukes’ head coach, Antoinette Lucas, played for Madison on the 1994 World Cup team that claimed the bronze medal. Madison also assisted the 1996 Olympic Team in Atlanta while Lucas was a member of that team. Additionally, Ragukas will be facing off against her cousin, JMU’s Melissa Stefaniak, for the third time of their careers.
In the all-time series, Virginia has a 28-11-1 advantage and has claimed the last five meetings. Three of those meetings, however, needed extra time.