Showdown Between Nation's Elite Set for Friday in College Park
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A showdown between No. 3 Virginia (11-0, 1-0 ACC) and No. 1 Maryland (11-0, 2-0 ACC) is set for 4 p.m. Friday in College Park, Md.
The Cavaliers, off to their best start since the 1979 season, are coming off a 4-3 victory at Richmond on Wednesday. Sophomore Paige Selenski scored two goals, while teammates Traci Ragukas and Tara Puffenberger also notched scores in the winning effort.
Selenski leads Virginia this season with 12 goals, including four game-winners. Puffenberger is second in scoring with eight goals, while Ragukas has five scores on the year. Sophomore Michelle Vittese leads the team with five assists while also adding three goals.
In the cage, junior Kim Kastuk has a 0.41 goals-against average while notching an .800 save percentage over 680 minutes of action this season.
Friday will mark a homecoming of sorts for Virginia volunteer assistant Keli Smith, who played for the Terps from 1997-2000. Smith was a three-time All-American and helped Maryland to a national title in 1999. She played on the 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing and continues to play on the U.S. National Team.
The 2008 NCAA champion Maryland is unbeaten at 11-0 on the year after knocking off American 3-0 on Tuesday. The Terps are also 2-0 in the ACC with wins over Boston College (6-2) and Wake Forest (4-1).
Senior forward Nicole Muracco and junior Katie O’Donnell have each tallied 15 goals this season to lead the Terps. Emma Thomas also had 12 scores on the year, including two of the team’s three in the win over American. Alicia Grater has a 0.91 goals-against average which ranks eighth nationally, in addition to a .833 save percentage, good enough for fifth in the nation.
Maryland leads the all-time series with Virginia 33-19-2. Last season, the Terps claimed both meetings in overtime. Maryland defeated UVa 4-3 in Charlottesville on Oct. 4. Later in the ACC Championship semifinals, the Terps escaped a Virginia threat, scoring in the final minutes to tie the game before winning 3-2 in overtime. Maryland went on to win the ACC Championship.
This season, Virginia is 5-0 against ranked opponents and 2-0 against teams ranked in the top 10.