Virginia Opens the 2016 Season on Friday Hosting Miami
|No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers (0-0) vs. Miami Redhawks (0-0)|
|Date and Time||Friday, August 26, 4 p.m.|
|Location||Charlottesville, Va. | Turf Field|
|Additional Information||2015 Season Stats | 2016 Fact Book|
|Social Media||Twitter | Facebook | Instagram|
August 24, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 5 Virginia field hockey team will open up the 2016 season by hosting Miami (Ohio) on Friday, August 26 at 4 p.m. at University Hall Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va. Live stats will be available through a Gametracker link on VirginiaSports.com. Admission is free for all of Virginia’s regular-season home field hockey games.
The Cavaliers finished the 2015 campaign with a 15-6 record, advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The squad, which only lost one player from last year’s team to graduation, enters the season ranked No. 5 in the NFHCA preseason poll and selected to finish second in the ACC in a vote by the league’s head coaches.
Junior midfielder Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), the 2015 NFHCA National Player of the Year, and senior midfielder Lucy Hyams (Whitstable, England), a 2015 NFHCA first-team All-American, were both selected as preseason All-ACC honorees, with Vittese earning the accolade for the third time in her career. Hyams will start the season with 26 career assists, two shy of entering the top-10 in program history. Vittese, who also has 26 career assists, will start the season two assists shy of entering the UVA top-10 in that category as well as needing just 15 points to enter the top-10 in career points. Vittese led the team last season with 39 points on 15 goals with nine assists. Hyams paced the squad with 10 assists while also netting 10 goals.
The Cavaliers return their top seven goal-scorers from last season. Taylor Brown, the lone senior on last year’s squad, contributed six of UVA’s 180 points last season, just 3.3 percent, with the returning members contributing 96.7 percent of last year’s offensive output.
Virginia has a pair of veteran strikers on the front line in seniors Riley Tata (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Caleigh Foust (Bryn Mawr, Pa.). Tata comes into the season with 35 career goals while Foust has contributed 33 in her three previous seasons.
Virginia also returns the goal-keeping tandem of sophomore Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.) and fifth-year senior Rebecca Holden (Fishing Creek, N.J.). Holden. Holden has been pegged nationally as one of the top-five players to watch this season. Last year, the two combined to allow just 2.38 goals per game while posting a .723 save percentage.
In addition to the strong veteran core, the team also has nine first-years, including Colleen Norair (Fredericksburg, Va.) who has been selected by USA Field Hockey to attend the prestigious Stars and Stripes Elite Tournament and Training Camp in December, the final tryout leading to the selection for the 2017 U.S. U-17 and U-19 Women’s National Team.
Virginia is 9-0 all-time against Miami including a 1-0 shutout last season on the road and a 3-0 shutout in 2014 in Charlottesville.
The Redhawks have either won outright or earned a share of the Mid-American Conference regular season crown in three of the past four seasons and are the preseason pick to win the league in 2016 according to the MAC coaches’ poll. Miami is coming off a 12-8 season in which they tied for the MAC Championship with a 5-1 record. The RedHawks return 19 letterwinners, including four who were named First Team All-MAC last season in senior goalkeeper Alysa Xavier, senior midfielder Carla Romagosa, junior back Mariona Heras and sophomore forward Paula Portugal.
The Cavaliers will close out their opening weekend by facing No. 18 Penn State on Sunday, August 28 at 12 p.m. in University Park, Pa.