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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The eighth-ranked Virginia field hockey team (5-1) outlasted Kent State (3-1) Saturday, defeating the Golden Flashes 4-2 at the University Hall Turf Field. Four different Cavaliers scored, including Inge Kaars Sijpesteijn, Lauren Elstein, Paige Selenski and Traci Ragukas, who celebrated her birthday.

“We took awhile to get going,” UVa head coach Michele Madison said. “Once we got our passing game going, we were able to get some scoring opportunities.”

Kent State got on the board first and scored just 3:10 into the game. On their first offensive possession, the Golden Flashes marched inside the circle and Nicole Leach tallied the goal on an assist from teammate Laurie Wilkins. With Kent State scoring first, it marked the first time all season Virginia has trailed in a game.

“Kent State came out and caught us in a counter-attack,” Madison said. “They got into good position against our backs. Our defense did a nice job of recovering from their mistakes and starting marking their players.”

Virginia tied it at one 12:18 into the game when Kaars Sijpesteijn recorded her second goal of the season. The goal came off a penalty corner, pushed out by Elstein and stopped by fourth-year Lucy Meyers.

The Cavaliers then took the lead later in the first half. Elstein tallied her third score of the year at 22:54 off a pass delivered from across the circle by Ragukas. Virginia led 2-1 at halftime.

The Golden Flashes were able to tie the game for the second time 10 minutes into the second half. Leach scored her second of the game with an assist from Natalie Barrett.

After back-and-forth offensive attacks, Virginia gained momentum, when Selesnki put one in the back of the cage at 56:11 to give the Cavaliers a 3-2 lead.

“Paige had another great game,” Virginia associate head coach Chris Spice said. “Her goal came at a critical time and really shifted the momentum our way.”

Three minutes later, UVa added an insurance goal when Ragukas tallied her fourth goal of the season. Teammate Kaitlyn Hiltz assisted on the play.

Virginia outshot Kent State 17-8 and had a slight advantage on penalty corners, 4-3. Ragukas, Kaars Sijpesteijn and Selenski each had four shots.
In the cage, Kent State’s Carolina Suitch tallied eight saves while Virginia’s Amy Desjadon and Devon Burnley combined for three saves.

“Haley (Carpenter) gave us some purpose and dominance in the midfield, particularity in the second half,” Spice continued. “Traci penetrated the circle well and created opportunities for others. AJ (Alex Jahnle) passed well and with authority and Floor (Vogels) was solid in the back. She held the defense together at important times in the second half.”

Virginia is back in action tomorrow at 1 p.m. against No. 15 Louisville at the UHall Turf Field.

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