Virginia Field Hockey Set for ACC Championship
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia field hockey team (8-11, 1-4 ACC) is the sixth seed in the 2011 ACC Field Hockey Championship, which runs Thursday through Sunday at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. The Cavaliers play third-seeded and eighth-ranked Duke (11-6, 2-3 ACC) at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the second game of the day. Virginia will open up with the Blue Devils at the event for the fourth consecutive year.
The Virginia-Duke winner advances to face second-seeded and third-ranked Maryland (14-3, 4-1 ACC) at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The championship game will be contested at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Both first round games on Thursday, including Virginia’s matchup with Duke, will be webcasted online at www.theACC.com. The remaining three games, including both semifinal games on Friday and the title game on Sunday, will be televised live on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network.
Virginia is 17-28 all-time in the ACC Championship dating back to 1983. The Cavaliers are 6-5 in the conference tournament under head coach Michele Madison. In four of her first five seasons, UVa won its first round game but fell in the semifinals, including last year, when Virginia beat Duke (2-1) and fell to North Carolina (1-0 in overtime). The other season, in 2009, the Cavaliers advanced to the title game.
Virginia is coming off its first conference win of the season, a 3-2 victory over then-No.6 Duke in penalty strokes last Saturday at the University Hall Turf Field. Junior Britt Knouse and freshman Rachel Sumfest scored for Virginia in regulation. All-ACC selection Elly Buckley was credited with the assists on both goals. Freshman goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone was sensational in the cage, posting a career-high 14 saves en route to her first career ACC Player of the Week honor. Carissa Vittese, Jess Orrett, Chloe Pendlebury and Elly Buckley all converted their strokes at the conclusion of overtime. Buckley’s stroke proved to be the game-winner.
Duke (11-6, 2-3 ACC) finished tied for third in the conference standings (with Wake Forest) to earn the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Prior to its 3-2 loss in penalty strokes to UVa last Saturday, the Blue Devils had won five consecutive games. Duke had four selections to the all-conference team: Emmie Le Marchand, Rhian Jones, Samantha Nelson and Stefanie Fee. Le Marchand leads the Blue Devils this season with 14 goals and six assists for 34 points, while Nelson boasts a 1.16 goals against average and a .720 save percentage on the year. Devon Gagliardi and Tara Jennings also contribute eight and six goals, respectively.
Virginia leads the all-time series with Duke, 29-15, and has won the last seven games between the two teams. In the ACC Championship, Virginia holds a 7-3 advantage against the Blue Devils. The last Duke win over UVa was a 3-1 decision in Durham in 2006.