Virginia Set to Host Cornell, No. 4 Wake Forest
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The third-ranked Virginia field hockey team (11-1, 1-1 ACC) returns home for two games this weekend at the University Hall Turf Field. Up first is Cornell for a 1 p.m. non-conference game on Saturday. The Cavaliers then welcome No. 4 Wake Forest for a 2 p.m. game on Sunday. The meeting with the Demon Deacons is the first of two games between the two teams this season and will not count as a conference game.
Prior to the Wake Forest game on Sunday, a tailgate will be held for all fans, while supplies last.
Virginia opened the 2009 season with an 11-0 record, the best start since the 1979 Cavaliers started 12-0. UVa has outscored opponents 40-10 and has limited opponents to six shots on goal or less this season in 11 of 12 games. High school and USA Junior National Team teammates Paige Selenski and Tara Puffenberger currently lead the Cavalier offense. Selenski has scored 13 goals while Puffenberger has eight scores. Junior goalkeeper Kim Kastuk had a season-high 10 saves against Maryland last Friday and currently ranks fifth nationally with a 0.65 goals against average. The Cavaliers are a young team, with just two seniors on the roster: co-captains Lauren Elstein (Fredericksburg, Va.) and Traci Ragukas (Sweet Valley, Pa.).
Virginia went 1-1 last week, suffering its first loss of the season Friday at top-ranked Maryland. The Cavaliers led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a goal by Paige Selenski but the Terps rallied for three goals in the second half, including one on a penalty stroke. UVa tallied a 4-3 victory at Richmond last Wednesday, which included two scores from Selenski as well as goals from Tara Puffenberger and Traci Ragukas.
Cornell is 8-1 on the season and receiving votes in the latest Kookaburra/NFHCA poll. The Big Red is coming off a 2-1 win at home against Colgate and suffered its first and only loss at Yale (1-0) last weekend. This season, Cornell has outscored its opponents 22-8. Catie De Stio paces the Big Red offense with seven goals and five assists for a team-best 19 points. Kelley Kavitarian adds four goals while Mattie Prodanovic also contributes two goals and three assists. In the cage, Melanie Jue has an 0.86 goals against average and a .865 save percentage. She has made 32 stops in nine games this year.
The series is tied at one win apiece in the all-time series between Virginia and Cornell. The teams last met in Charlottesville in 2003 with Virginia earning a 4-0 win. The Big Red claimed the previous meeting in 2002 with a 2-1 overtime victory in Ithica, N.Y.
No. 4 Wake Forest is 8-3 on the season, including a 1-2 mark in ACC play. The Demon Deacons are coming off a 6-0 win at home against Appalachian State. Wake Forest has lost twice to second-ranked North Carolina (4-1 in Chapel Hill, 3-0 in Winston-Salem) and also fell at top-ranked Maryland (4-1). The Deacons are led by freshman Lizzie Rae, who has six goals this season. Melissa Martin has also contributed three goals and five assists while Lauren Greenwald also has four scores. Wake Forest has had 13 different players score this season. Julie Young and Kaitlyn Ruhf have split time between the pipes this season, with goals against averages of 2.21 and 2.23, respectively.
Virginia and Wake Forest each have 15 wins in the all-time series, but the Deacons have claimed the last 14 meetings between the two teams. Last year, Wake took the regular season meeting, 6-2, in Charlottesville. The Demon Deacons also ended Virginia’s season with a 4-3 victory in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in Winston-Salem. The last Virginia victory came on Nov. 6, 1998, a 1-0 win in Charlottesville.