Buckley leads charge for Field Hockey
Senior shines in return to attack
Transitioning back from defender to her original position of forward, senior Elly Buckley started her season with the No. 4 Virginia field hockey team with high expectations.
Buckley entered the season with 133 points, tied for seventh on the Cavaliers points list. She also came in with 53 goals, earning her eighth spot on the career goals list. At the halfway mark of the season, Buckley has yet to disappoint. She leads the ACC with 15 goals and ranks third nationally in points per game and goals per game.
Contributing 17 shots and four of the five goals in Virginia’s weekend victories against Wake Forest and Liberty, Buckley is proving that she is a force to be reckoned with.
“Elly is getting a lot of attention from opposing teams,” coach Michele Madison said. “You can see it — every time she has the ball there are three people on her.
Averaging 1.25 goals and 2.92 points per game, Buckley is a player that any team’s defense wants to focus on shutting down. If her talent has led to more coverage, Buckley says she has not noticed.
“I don’t think [the coverage I’m getting] is any different than my first or second year,” Buckley said. “It’s hard though, especially with better teams and better tacklers.”
Buckley’s run of strong play has been essential to Virginia’s recent success. Since losing their first game of the season to No. 1 North Carolina, the Cavaliers have won four straight games, outscoring opponents 13-1.
“They learned a lot of things from the UNC game,” Madison said. “We talked a lot about what it takes to be number one. They learned that they need to be more dynamic in attacking the ball and keeping composure, especially when we lose the ball.”
With further ACC tests on the horizon, the team is happy to see its practice translate onto the field.
“It feels really great to know that our hard work is being rewarded,” senior forward Hadley Bell said. “We’re really proud of the way we’re playing as a team, so that’s just making us more excited to see where we get to in the season.”
Radford will have the next chance at stopping Buckley and the Cavaliers. The Highlanders (3-6) come to Charlottesville seeking their first ACC win of the season after falling to Duke and UNC earlier in the season.
The game is Virginia’s last midweek game of the season and will be Tuesday held at 6 p.m. on the University Hall Turf Field.