Baker's Career Day Lifts No. 8 Cavaliers Over Undefeated Tar Heels in Overtime
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Redshirt sophomore Ainsley Baker scored a career-high five goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to lift the eighth-ranked Cavaliers over previously unbeaten No. 3 North Carolina, 13-12, Saturday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium. The game marked the season-debut at Klöckner Stadium for Virginia this year and improves the Cavaliers to 4-2 on the season, 1-1 in the ACC. Carolina falls to 6-1 and 0-1 in the league.
Baker’s game-high five goals led six Cavaliers in scoring. Sophomore Charlie Finnigan added three goals for the second hat trick of her career, while senior All-American Kaitlin Duff chipped in two scores and one assist. Senior Caity Whiteley tacked on one goal and two assists for the Cavaliers, while sophomores Julie Gardner and Josie Owen each had one score. Senior All-American Brittany Kalkstein rounded out the scoring with one helper.
For North Carolina, Becky Lynch led the way with four goals and two assists, while Laura Zimmermann added two more scores for the Tar Heels.
To open the game, North Carolina jumped out to a commanding 4-0 lead less than three minutes into play. The Cavaliers were able to chip into the Tar Heels’ lead throughout the half though, before Baker completed the first hat trick of her career to knot the score at eight heading into intermission.
Baker initially got the Cavaliers on the board at the 26:58 mark following UNC’s four scores and just 22 seconds after a Virginia timeout.
The goal wasn’t enough to halt the Tar Heels’ streak though, as North Carolina extended its lead to five with back-to-back goals by the 23:37 mark.
Finnigan responded for Virginia, notching two-unanswered scores of her own, before North Carolina found the back of the net for a seventh time, at 15:18.
Two more from Virginia – the first from Baker and the second from Owen, assisted on by Whiteley – pulled the Cavaliers within two, 5-7, with 12:26 remaining in the half.
Carolina tallied their final goal of the half at 5:45, before the Cavaliers rattled off three straight – all unassisted from Duff, Whiteley and Baker – sending the teams into the intermission with an even 8-8 score.
The Tar Heels started the scoring in the second half, firing a shot into cage 2:14 into play. Less than one minute later, Duff caused a turnover and raced down the field before finishing off the play by winning a one-on-one battle with UNC goalie Logan Ripley at the 26:49 mark.
Finnigan tacked on another score for the Cavaliers at 21:49, giving Virginia it’s first lead of the game, 10-9, prompting Carolina to make a goalie change.
Baker took advantage of the situation for the Cavaliers less than 10 minutes into the second half, firing her fourth goal into the net, but Carolina reverted back to its starting keeper. Gardner then notched her first goal of the game, converting a free position shot at 15:29, giving Virginia a 12-9 lead.
The Cavaliers’ streak was broken at with 13:58 on the clock, as Carolina strung together three-straight goals to knot the score at 12 with 6:15 to play. As time wound down, both defenses stepped up in the final minute, forcing an overtime period.
Virginia won the opening draw, but had a shot blocked before redshirt junior Lauren Benner stepped up in cage for the Cavaliers, stopping North Carolina’s attempt to score.
Baker then found the back of the net for a fifth time, almost two minutes into overtime, to give the Cavaliers the advantage. As time expired, Benner came up with her sixth save of the contest to secure the victory for the Cavaliers, while sophomore Annie Taylor scooped up the ground ball and cleared it from Virginia’s defensive end.
Kalkstein anchored the defense causing three turnovers and scooping up three ground balls. She also won five draw controls, while Owen won three. Junior Liz Downs also had two caused turnovers for Virginia, while the win in cage gives Benner her second-straight of the season.
On Wednesday, the Cavaliers will travel to No. 18 William & Mary for a midweek contest with their in-state rival. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.