Virginia field hockey falls in close game to Maryland

Last minute rally not enough to overcome early defensive troubles

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Senior back Becca Zamojcin was one of four Virginia seniors honored after the game. 

Darya Tahan | Cavalier Daily

The Virginia Cavaliers lost a close game Tuesday evening against a tough Maryland team in a game that seemed to be a blowout until the final few minutes. 

Virginia (12-3, 4-1 ACC) struck the first blow of the match when junior midfielder Izzy McDonough scored off of a second chance from a penalty corner. This was McDonough’s fourth goal of the season. The Cavaliers dominated the game for the opening few minutes, racking up two penalty corners and several shots alongside McDonough’s goal.

For the rest of the first half, however, the game belonged to Maryland (11-5, 5-2 Big Ten). The Terrapins achieved two goals from penalty corners and were able to score two goals beyond that, pushing the score to 4-1 in favor of Maryland.

The Cavaliers’ outmatched defense forced many of the offensive weapons present on their team to stay back for much of the first half and attempt to keep the dynamic Terrapins outside of the circle. Even with the increased defensive presence, Maryland’s great downfield passing and constant tempo was able to keep the pressure focused upon the Cavalier half of the field, only allowing Virginia to briefly escape during a few short drives by Vittese and the other midfielders. 

Virginia was able to hold its own in the second half, limiting the Terrapins goals to one goal and putting up an offensive performance that had not been present during most of the first half. Part of the reason for the Cavaliers’ defensive rally was the adjustment of putting freshman Lauren Hausheer in goal, where she had five saves for only one goal allowed. Freshman back Rachel Robinson also distinguished herself, stopping several drives by herself, proving to be a defensive presence inside the circle. 

Midway through the second half, junior striker Greta Ell managed to put up her ninth goal of the season in a shot assisted by freshman midfielder Pien Dicke. Despite this, Virginia was still losing 5-2 going into the final minutes of the game. Around the two minute mark, the hitherto dormant Cavalier offense awoke for one of it’s most dominant periods this season. Virginia’s sophomore back Dominique van Slooten and Ell scored back to back in rapid succession, bringing the score within one for the final minute of the game. However, Maryland’s defense held for the final minute, and the game ended in a 5-4 victory for the Terrapins.

In the end, even the dynamic Cavalier offense at its best was unable to pull Virginia out from under the deficit it had created through sloppy defensive play in the first half. However, the Cavaliers were able to turn the takeaway from the game from a story about a blowout into one about a close defeat, which is no small feat. 

“When any team is at a crossroads of deciding who they are, deciding who they want to be, it takes everyone putting it all out on the field,” Coach Michele Madison said.

Maryland’s offense was lead by freshman midfielder Kyler Greenwalt, who came off the bench to score two goals from three shots. Other goal scorers for Maryland included senior midfielder Lein Holsboer, junior forward Linnea Gonzales and junior forward Melissa Wilken. Maryland’s goalkeeper, junior Sarah Holliday, had five saves for only two goals allowed until the Cavalier resurgence in the final minutes of the game.

After the game, Virginia honored its four graduating seniors as well as several other major contributors to the team over the past few years. Leaving this year for the Cavaliers are senior back Becca Zamojcin, senior back Nadine de Koning, senior midfielder Tara Vittese and graduate student goalkeeper Emily Miller. These athletes have overseen a Virginia team that only once dropped below the top 10 teams in the nation, and rose as high as the number three seed. They won an ACC championship and made the NCAA quarterfinals twice during their time at the University. 

According to Madison, the trio will be missed for their leadership more than anything else. 

“They are very disciplined,” Madison said. “They took care of their academics every semester, and were consistently good student athletes.”

Virginia will next travel to Louisville, Ky. to face the No. 11 Cardinals field hockey program. The game is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Trager Stadium and will be broadcasted on the ACC Network Extra.

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