No. 4 Cavs thrash JMU 6-1
Buckley sparks offensive onslaught
The No. 4 Virginia field hockey team easily defeated James Madison in Wednesday’s midweek matchup in Charlottesville. The 6-1 victory marked the team’s second highest offensive output this season thus far.
The Cavaliers (9-1, 0-1 ACC) were coming off a weekend where they only scored three goals in two games. In the Cavaliers’ only other midweek game this year, they put up just one regulation goal. Virginia coach Michele Madison said she was not sure what to expect before the game.
“I challenge the team to come out and play as a team,” Madison said. “Because of the struggle we had against Richmond in the midweek game, they had to convince me that they were ready. They definitely put it out there and worked together.”
The first half produced a very lopsided box score in favor of the Cavaliers. The Dukes (5-3) failed to record a shot in the half, while the Cavaliers recorded six, including five on goal. The Cavaliers scored three times in the half, quickly ending James Madison’s streak of two consecutive defensive shutouts.
The first Virginia goal came from a penalty corner granted to the Cavaliers 10 minutes into the game. Freshman forward Lucy Hyams played the ball in and senior back Chloe Pendlebury stopped it, setting up an immediate shot from senior forward Elly Buckley that flew past the JMU sophomore goalie Lena Wimmert untouched.
“We had a lot of attack today, which was awesome,” Buckley said. “Everyone played their role. We were passing so much and that helped a lot.”
Freshman Riley Tata scored the next two goals for Virginia. The first was an unassisted drive to the goal from the left side of the field. The goalie and several other players confronted her, but the resulting scrum proved futile for the Dukes as the ball found its way into the net.
“We really knew where each other was in this game, and that helped us a lot,” Buckley said. “We also got some scrappy goals in there as well, which was awesome to see.”
Then, with less than three minutes remaining in the half, Hyams drove into the right side of the circle and found Tata right in the middle of the circle for the open shot and resulting goal.
In the second half, Buckley notched her second goal of the game in the exact same fashion as her first — off a penalty corner with assists from Hyams and Pendlebury. Later in the half, senior forward Hadley Bell added to the Cavalier goal total via a Buckley assist.
“I think we got back to our build up and getting numbers around the ball,” Madison said, “That’s why it looks so effortless — when they play together and the let the system work, you end up with the ball in front of the goal. And Elly was on target with corners today.”
The final five minutes of the game featured two James Madison goals, but one of them found its way into the team’s own net. Pendlebury launched a ball into the James Madison circle looking for a Virginia player, but instead found the stick of a Duke, who deflected the ball past Wimmert.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, James Madison scored its lone offensive goal when a penalty corner attempt led to a flurry of shots, the last of which made its way past Virginia junior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone. In addition to the one goal allowed, she finished the game with three saves.
Overall, Madison praised a crisp, if occasionally flawed, performance from her team.
“When you win you don’t do everything right, and when you lose you don’t do everything wrong,” Madison said. “They put a half court press on us, and we anticipated that. The team handled it well.”
Buckley’s two goals and one assist added to her team-leading totals of 11 and five, respectively. Tata’s two goals brought her to eight on the season and tied her for second in scoring with fellow freshman forward Caleigh Foust.
Virginia plays next this Friday when it faces ACC foe No. 15 Wake Forest in Winston-Salem.