CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The third-ranked Virginia field hockey team (18-3) beat sixth-ranked Princeton 4-2 Sunday to advance to the NCAA semifinals for the second consecutive season. Freshman Elly Buckley and sophomore Tara Puffenberger scored two goals apiece in the winning effort.
The Cavaliers will face No. 2 North Carolina at either 2 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. Friday in College Park, Md. The Tar Heels defeated Old Dominion 5-1 on Sunday to advance.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be advancing to the final four,” Virginia head coach Michele Madison said. “It’s something we have been working towards all season and to have it come to fruition is just wonderful. We could have played better but we did enough to win it.”
Virginia will be making its fourth overall NCAA semifinal appearance; it also advanced in 1997 and 1998 in addition to last season.
“It always helps that we have been there and that we know what to expect,” Madison continued. “They had their hearts set on getting to the semifinals but it isn’t the ultimate goal, it is just a step in the direction of where we want to be.”
The Cavaliers outshot Princeton 16-5 and held an 11-4 advantage on penalty corners.
For the second straight game UVa found itself trailing in the first half. The Tigers took an early lead when Kathleen Sharkey scored on a penalty corner just 8:39 into the contest. She was assisted on the play by teammates Alexandra Douwes and Julia Reinprecht.
After scoring two goals in the overtime win against Michigan State in the first round, Buckley (Perth, Australia) scored the equalizer on Sunday. She drove up the middle of the field and fired the ball past Princeton goalie Christina Maida, unassisted, in the 30th minute.
The game was tied 1-1 at the half.
The Cavaliers came out strong in the second half as Buckley scored her second goal of the day when Selenski’s initial shot on a penalty corner hit off the post. Buckley was there to collect the ball and put it through; it was her 19th score of the season.
Puffenberger (Dallas, Pa.) then made it 3-1 after the Cavaliers were able to score on a penalty corner. Senior Haley Carpenter (Virginia Beach, Va.) injected to classmate Taylor Swezey (Ambler, Pa.) at the top of the circle. Swezey passed the ball in between her legs to Selenski (Shavertown, Pa), who took the open shot, which was deflected in by Puffenberger.
“Getting opportunity was what we talked about at halftime,” Madison said. “When we were in the circle, we were able to get the corner. Their fly was really fast and I think there were some jitters. But the team didn’t let down and definitely stepped up in the second half. They were able to sustain the attack.”
Puffenberger notched her second goal of the game in the 61st minute after an unassisted drive from the right side. She has 11 scores on the year.
The Tigers answered quickly with a goal of their own by Reinprecht with seven minutes to play, but the Cavaliers held a two-goal lead for the victory.
Virginia goalkeeper Kim Katsuk (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) tallied two saves in the win, while Maida finished with six for the Tigers.
Princeton ends its season with a mark of 14-5.