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Field hockey gears up for rival Tribe

If last year's game against William & Mary is any indication for the Cavalier field hockey team, tonight's 7 p.m. match at the University Hall Turf Field should be quite a show.

One year ago this week, the Cavs defeated the Tribe, 3-2, in an evenly matched game that went to double overtime. This time around, the teams are again equally strong.

"They have a very strong team and they're having a great season," Cav coach Jessica Wilk said of the Tribe.

The teams' seasons are unfolding in similar manner. Both the Cavs (3-3) and the Tribe (7-2) were ranked in the top 10 prior to the weekend. Both watched their positions slip after disappointing losses.

Sunday, the then-No. 8 Cavs fell to the No. 2 Lady Monarchs of Old Dominion for the seventh consecutive time. The Tribe, then ranked No. 9, was surprisingly shut out Saturday by previously unranked Duke.

As a result of these losses, the Cavs slipped to 10th place, while the Tribe dropped to 13th. Tonight's game is an opportunity for both squads to climb back up in the national rankings.

Related Links
  • CD Online Field Hockey Coverage
  • Official William & Mary field hockey site

    "It's going to be a tough game," said Cav senior goalkeeper Becky Worthington, who had 17 saves against ODU. "We need to work harder, and we need to communicate on defense."

    Worthington has reason to pay close attention the Virginia defense. In the ODU game, the Cavs surrendered 27 shots and five goals to the Lady Monarchs while registering just five shots and a single goal of their own. Such numbers do not a winning team make.

    Tonight, both teams will require strong showings from their defenses. The Tribe - which returns seven starters, including Regional All-American defender Kathy DeJong - has posted four shutouts. With eight returning starters, including Worthington, the Cavaliers have three shutouts of their own.

    "When you're not taking care of the ball and getting it done defensively, you're not going to win many games," Wilk emphasized after the ODU loss.

    While depending on Worthington and the defense to secure a win over the Tribe, the Cavs will look to Lorraine Vizzuso to lead the offensive front.

    The senior forward supplied Virginia's lone goals in its two previous outings against ODU and North Carolina. Vizzuso has registered either a goal or an assist in each of the Cavs' games since the team's victory over Ohio State September 4.

    Junior midfielder Jessica Coleman is also an important component of the Cavalier offense, providing the team with two goals and two assists this season.

    Tonight marks the first of a three-game home stint for the Cavs, who host No. 1 Maryland Sunday. But with last year's close game against William & Mary and the Tribe's 7-2 record in mind, the Cavs remain focused extending their winning streak against William & Mary to five games.


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