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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The fifth-ranked Virginia field hockey team improved to 7-0 on the year with a 4-1 win over William and Mary Thursday at Busch Field.

Virginia is off to its best start since the 1998 squad also started 7-0. That season, the Cavaliers made their second (and most recent) appearance in the NCAA semifinals.

“The fighting spirit we can take to the bank,” Virginia coach Michele Madison said. “We had to find a way to win. William and Mary put great pressure on but we were still able to build attack. Their goalkeeper (Camillia Hill) played outstanding we had to keep working until we found a way.”

The Cavalier offense rallied late in the second half with three goals after finishing the first half in a 1-1 tie.

Freshman Tara Puffenberger scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 53rd minute on an assist from teammate Haley Carpenter.

Ten minutes later, Floor Vogels put Virginia up 3-1 after a rebound off a goalie save from Charlotte van den Broek’s shot. Sophomore Michelle Vittese rounded out the scoring on a penalty corner with five minutes to play in the game.

Virginia outshot the Tribe 33-3, including a 23-1 margin in the second half. Vittese and Puffenberger led the Cavaliers with six shots apiece.

“Haley (Carpenter) was key in keeping it simple and of course Tracy (Ragukas) did as well,” Madison said. “They just kept things plain and created the attack for us. Floor (Vogels) in the back was really strong and came up with key tackles.”

Hill had a solid night, recording 16 saves. Sophomore Adrienne Ostroff and junior Kim Kastuk split time in the cage for the Orange and Blue.

“We have to continue to focus on taking it one day at a time,” Madison concluded. “Step by step, we need to improve on something in every game we play. The key is to be the best team we can be at the end.”

The Cavaliers return home for a noon game against No. 8 Michigan State Sunday at the Turf Field. Head coach Michele Madison spent 13 seasons with the Spartans before taking over the program in 2005. Assistant coach Alex Kyser, who played under Madison at MSU, was the program’s first first-team All-American.

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