CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia field hockey team (9-9) will face Princeton (13-4) in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Field Hockey Championship on Friday, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m., at Bedford Field in Princeton, N.J.
The game will be streamed live online with live stats also provided. Links for both are posted on VirginiaSports.com.
Virginia earned one of eight at-large bids into the 18-team championship field. Princeton was also an at-large team, but is the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Penn State (12-5) and Harvard (16-1) will play the other first-round game that same day at 2:30 p.m. The winners will advance to the quarterfinal game on Sunday, Nov. 11.
This is the 23rd trip to NCAA Championship for the Cavaliers and their 11th in head coach Michele Madison’s 13 seasons at Virginia.
This is the third-straight year that UVA will face Princeton in the NCAA tournament. The Tigers have won the last three post-season meetings between the two squads. Last year, the Tigers won 3-2 in double overtime in Charlottesville in a first-round game. The Tigers won 3-2 on a last-second goal in 2016 to earn a spot in the Final Four. In 2012, Princeton won 5-2 in Charlottesville in a quarterfinal game. Virginia topped Princeton, 4-2, in 2010 in a first-round game in Charlottesville. The all-time series between the two teams is tied 7-7.
Virginia moved up to No. 13 in the final Penn Monto/NFHCA Coaches’ Poll. The Cavaliers, who have played 13 games this season against teams ranked in the top-25 including eight against top-10 teams, had the second highest strength of schedule. Princeton is No. 4 in this week’s poll. Harvard, the Ivy League champions, are No. 6, and Penn State remained at No. 9.
Virginia is coming off a run to the semifinals at last week’s ACC Championship. Senior goalkeeper Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.) and junior Colleen Norair (Fredericksburg, Va.) were both named to the ACC All-Tournament Team. Lucas, who made eight saves against BC, leads the ACC and is ranked fourth in the nation with a .792 save percentage. She also leads the ACC in saves per game (5.72). Norair scored the game-winning goal against Boston College last Friday, her first goal of the season, as well as making a defensive save in the game. Sophomore back Rachel Robinson (Mount Joy, Pa.) had a defensive save against BC and another against North Carolina. She is now tied for the conference lead with three this season.
Senior midfielder Greta Ell (Plains, Pa.) earned All-ACC Second Team honors this year. Ell has scored three goals, including the game-winners against Miami (Ohio) and William & Mary. Freshman Greer Gill (Virginia Beach, Va.) also has two game-winners this season, scoring the decider against Drexel and in the upset of No. 2 Maryland.
Princeton had eight players named to All-Ivy teams, the conference announced today. Clara Roth was named Co-Offensive Player of the Year while Elise Wong was named Defensive Player of the Year. Roth finished second in the conference in points (32), tied for second in goals (12) and tied for third in helpers (eight). Princeton has one of the top defensive units in the country, allowing just 1.21 goals per game, good for eighth in the country. The Tigers have six victories this season over ranked opponents, including a comeback victory over then No. 4 Duke (Sept. 7) and a dominating 5-2 win at then No. 3 UConn (Oct. 7).
Harvard won the Ivy League title for the fifth time in program history, including topping Princeton 3-1 in the regular-season meeting. Harvard set several program records with a dominant run through the regular season, winning the most games (16) and having the longest winning streak (13) in program history. The Crimson did not allow a goal at Berylson Field all season, outscoring opponents 33-0 with an 8-0 record on its home field. Harvard’s team goals-against average is second in the nation (0.65) and it has 10 shutouts this season, which is tops in the nation. Harvard is fifth in the nation in scoring offense (3.71 goals per game), led by juniors Maddie Earle (15 goals, five assists) and Bente van Vlijmen (12 goals, six assists). Earle leads the Ivy League in scoring (35 points). This would be the first-ever meeting between Virginia and Harvard.
Penn State is making its third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament and its 12th in the last 14 years. The Nittany Lions have made 33 overall appearances, the second most in NCAA tournament history. Penn State is coming off a hard-fought 3-2 double-overtime loss to Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Championships back on Oct. 28. Penn State has six players with 15 or more points this season, led by Moira Putsch at 29 with eight goals and 13 assists. Goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo has made 67 saves with a 1.70 goals against average and a .761 save percentage. Virginia fell 1-0 at Penn State in the second game of the season. PSU leads the all-time series, 18-8.
Duke, Maryland and North Carolina will serve as the other three host sites for the first and second round games. The winner of each site will advance to the NCAA semifinals on Nov. 16 at Trager Stadium in Louisville, Ky. The National Championship game will take place on Nov. 18.