CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The third-ranked Virginia field hockey team (16-3) opens NCAA Tournament play at 11:30 a.m. Saturday against No. 11 Michigan State at the University Hall Turf Field. The Cavaliers are hosting NCAA regional action for the second consecutive year.
Following the UVa-MSU contest, No. 6 Princeton will meet No. 14 Wake Forest at approximately 2 p.m. in the other first-round contest. Live stats for all games will be linked on VirginiaSports.com.
Virginia is making its 20th appearance in the national tournament, including its 17th in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers also played in three AIAW Tournaments. It marks the second time in program history Virginia has earned the No. 3 national seed (the other was 1997). UVa earned a No. 2 seed a year ago, in 2009, the highest in school history. The Cavaliers have an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 10-16.
This season marks just the third time Virginia has hosted an NCAA regional, and second consecutive. The Cavaliers first hosted in 1997, when the program made its first (of three) trip to the NCAA semifinals. The Cavaliers are 3-0 when playing at home in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia is coming off a 1-0 overtime loss to No. 2 North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament last Friday night in Winston-Salem, N.C. UNC’s Kelsey Kolojejchick scored the only goal of the game 2:07 into the overtime period. It was the first time this season the Cavaliers were shutout.
Michigan State received its fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid and is making its eighth overall appearance. The Spartans are 15-5 overall and finished fourth in the Big Ten with a 3-3 mark in conference play. Senior forward Jantine Steinmetz and senior midfielder Sabine van den Assem were both selected to the All-Big Ten first team, while freshman goalkeeper Molly Cassidy and sophomore forward Kristen Henn were named to the second team. Steinmetz and van den Assem lead the Spartans with 11 goals each on the year, while Steinmetz’s nine assists pace the MSU offense. Henn has also registered nine scores this season. In the cage, Cassidy boasts a .750 save percentage and a 1.64 goals against average.
Virginia leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 2-1. UVa’s 3-2 overtime win in the 2009 NCAA Tournament is the most recent matchup; the Spartans claimed the first meeting in 2004, a 6-2 MSU victory in Charlottesville.
Tickets for the NCAA games are available at the gate for $5 for adults and $3 for students and youth. Parking will be available for $5 in the Cage Lot adjacent to the Turf Field.