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Virginia prepares for battle against JMU

Coming off of a two-game winning streak, the Virginia field hockey team will face in-state rival James Madison tonight, at 7 p.m. at the University Hall Turf Field.

This past Saturday, Virginia defeated Yale in a 5-0 shutout, which helped offensively prepare the team for tonight's game.

"We really need a solid 70 minutes of play," Virginia Coach Jessica Wilk said. "We played a good 70 attacking against Yale and we really need to continue to build on that."

The Dukes, however, upset the Cavs last year, capturing a 2-1 win. Coming into tonight's game, the Cavs are ranked eighth, while the Dukes, who are on a two-game losing streak, are ranked tenth. This closeness in rank and the heated rivalry between the teams should create quality competition on both sides.

"I expect a great game," JMU Coach Christy Morgan said. "Both teams are very good, very skilled and there's always been a big rivalry between Virginia and JMU in field hockey."

Offensively, Cav second-year Jessica Coleman leads the team with 14 goals, followed by fourth-year Meredith Elwell, who has nine.

"As far as the offense goes, we are going to have to take care of the ball," Wilk said. "We need to keep possession and take advantage when we have the opportunity."

"Virginia's got a great corner attack, and we need to work on stopping, or at least limiting, that," Morgan said.

But with two very talented teams, the game may come down to just controlling their competitive feelings and concentrating on their play.

"You're going to see both teams playing with a lot of emotion," Morgan said. "I think that the team that can control that emotion or use it in a positive way will be the most successful out there."

The intensity of the game should bring out the best in both Virginia and JMU players, and Wilk said that the team needs to take the chances that are presented to them.

"We just need to concentrate on capitalizing on opportunities," she said.

The Cavaliers and the Dukes both need to take advantage of every opportunity they have, as the game probably will be a tough contest to control.

"I expect that the game is going to be a battle to the finish," Morgan said.


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