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Field hockey looks to stay defensive against Spiders

After jumping out of the gates with an undefeated start, the Virginia field hockey team is looking to keep up the momentum in tonight's game against Richmond. According to Cavalier head coach Jessica Wilk, the scrappy Spiders may serve to be a difficult opponent for the Cavaliers.

"We're looking forward to a tough game against Richmond," Wilk said. "They have a lot of very strong returning players, and a lot of really good incoming players."

Although the Cavaliers (4-0) lost nine members to graduation, there are 10 new players to fill the void. This past weekend the Cavs were victorious over Michigan, 3-2 in overtime, and shut out Towson State 9-0.

"I was pleased to come out of the weekend with two wins," Wilk said. "We were fortunate to find a way to win when we're not playing the way we're capable of playing. It's great to see them step up."

She also praised the team for its determination in the games this past weekend.

"They never stopped playing. The kids just kept playing and kept fighting," Wilk said. "I think that says a lot about the character of the team."

One strong point of this year's Cavalier contingent is the defense, paced by third-year goalkeeper Becky Worthington who already has two shutouts this season.

"The defense is really starting to come into their own," Wilk said. "We are trying to correct some of the things from the weekend, and just concentrating and playing our game."

The Cavaliers also have thoughts about ways to improve the team's performance, beginning with tonight's contest.

"I think we just need to be consistent and keep improving," second-year midfielder Jessica Coleman said.

"I think we need to set the tone," Worthington said. "We definitely need to focus on coming out and controlling the game. No matter who we play, we need to come out and do exactly what we want to do right away."

The Cavs and Spiders face off at 7 p.m. at U-Hall Turf Field.