U.Va. dominates Miami for win
No. 9 team rides Selenski’s hat trick; 6-1 victory against RedHawks improves home record to 4-0
In its first home game in nearly two weeks, the No. 9 Virginia field hockey team improved to 4-0 in Charlottesville with a 6-1 victory against Miami of Ohio Saturday.
The victory was powered by a strong overall team effort, but it was the play of redshirt senior forward Paige Selenski that sealed the win. Selenski scored three times for her third hat trick of the season and took eight of the Cavaliers’ (7-2) 14 shots.
“[The game] went pretty well for the most part,” Selenski said. “We definitely have some things we need to improve on, but I thought we were able to move the ball around very well today.”
The Cavaliers started things off against the RedHawks (2-5) with a crafty goal off a broken penalty corner six minutes into the game. Redshirt senior Michelle Vittese found junior forward Elizabeth Hanks in a crowd near the goal, where Hanks then ripped her second goal of the season.
“It was actually a messed up corner,” Vittese said. “It was supposed to come out and go to [junior back] Elly [Buckley], who hits it in. There was a miscommunication with the insert, so I ended up just pushing it in the air towards Elizabeth [Hanks], hoping she would get a touch on it, and she put it home.”
Just two minutes later, the Cavaliers struck again when Selenski and sophomore forward Rachel Sumfest broke away toward the goal for a two-on-one attack. Selenski challenged the defender into the circle and passed the ball out right to Sumfest, who then crossed it back to Selenski for a score. The Cavaliers outshot the RedHawks 7-1 in the first half and led 2-0 at the break.
“The team followed the game plan, which is good,” coach Michele Madison said. “We overcomplicated it a little at the end of the first half, but we regrouped at halftime and were able to reestablish the momentum.”
In the second half, Selenski exploded with two more goals, both of which were unassisted. Miami sophomore midfielder Ali Froede scored the lone RedHawk goal. But that wasn’t to be the only RedHawk goal of the night. Minutes later, a RedHawk defender tipped a shot by Buckley into the net for an “own goal” to push to lead to 4-1.
Senior back Phoebe Willis added the Virginia’s fifth goal in the 64th minute, earning her first tally of the season.
“The strength of our system is really dependent on using our depth,” Madison said. “The season is long, so we have to develop everybody and see what everybody can do.”
Despite the lopsided score, Miami junior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller proved to be a challenge for the Virginia offense throughout the game, stifling many promising offensive possessions and finishing the game with seven saves.
“Their goalie played a solid game,” Madison said. “Our first shots weren’t going in, but I was happy we continued to get in scoring position to take advantage of some of the rebounds, because [Mueller] is such a solid goalkeeper.”
In the Cavalier net, sophomore goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone earned the win after a strong first half shutout performance. In the second half, freshman Rebecca Holden replaced Johnstone and allowed just one goal.
Before the game, Madison was recognized for earning her 300th career victory in a 5-4 win against then-No. 3 Old Dominion Sept. 2. Madison is only the 26th coach in Division I history to reach that mark and ranks 10th among active coaches in wins. She recorded 56 victories during her time at Temple, 155 at Michigan State and currently has 91 victories with the Cavaliers.
“It’s such a great achievement for Michele Madison,” Vittese said. “She’s fabulous — she’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. Playing underneath her is such an honor, and I’m so glad that I got to spend four years here with her.”
The Cavaliers do not play again until Friday, when they travel to Chestnut Hill, MA to open ACC play against Boston College.
“It was really important for us to regroup, get this one game, and set us up for this full week of practice,” Vittese said. “Today I wanted us to focus on just playing our style of hockey and our system. We played for us and not for our opponent.”