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Field hockey gears up for Hoyas, Heels

Home, sweet home.

That's what the Virginia field hockey team will be thinking this weekend when it hosts Georgetown tonight at 7 p.m. and No. 3 North Carolina Sunday at 1 p.m. at the University Hall Turf Field. The games are the first two of a four-game home stretch for the Cavaliers, who haven't seen their home field for more than a week.

The No. 10 Cavs (8-4) are coming off an impressive 3-2 win at No. 11 James Madison Wednesday. Sophomore forward Katie Slocum scored two goals against the Dukes, while senior goalkeeper Becky Worthington collected seven saves. The Cavalier defense held the nation's second-leading scorer, JMU senior forward Liz Sanders, without a point.

"We were very excited with the win," Virginia's Carrie Goodloe said. "It was the first time in two years that we've beat JMU."

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    Goodloe and fellow junior midfielder Jessica Coleman lead the way for the Cavs. Coleman is Virginia's leading scorer with 22 points (nine goals and five assists), while Goodloe is on a roll with 17 points in the last six games. Worthington has been consistently impressive in the cage, collecting 78 saves, good for a 1.81 goals-against average and an 80.4 save percentage so far this season.

    Georgetown (9-2) started the season 8-0 but has lost two of its last three games. The Hoyas are unranked, but Cav coach Jessica Wilk said Virginia is not taking them lightly.

    "I expect it to be very tough Friday night," Wilk said. "Georgetown is having a great season, and they're a good team. We're going to keep on working on corrections to prepare for them."

    Freshman back Elena Elster is Georgetown's leading scorer with 30 points (13 goals and four assists). Elster netted a hat trick in the Hoyas' 6-0 shutout of Catholic University Tuesday.

    Tonight's contest is only the fourth ever between the Hoyas and the Cavaliers. Virginia has won all three of their previous meetings, the last of which took place in 1998.

    Two days after Georgetown, Virginia will face ACC rival North Carolina (13-1). The two met Sept. 17 at Chapel Hill, where the then-No. 2 Tar Heels used a quick start to defeat the Cavs, 3-1. Wilk is hoping for something different this time.

    "The biggest difference between Sunday's game and the last game is that we're a different team now," Wilk said. "We have some lineup changes and other changes as well. It's always tough when you're playing UNC, but we'll be prepared."

    The Cavaliers will have to be prepared in order to put a dent in the Tar Heels' impressive record. Carolina's only loss this season came against No. 2 Old Dominion Sept. 16. The Cavs will have to stop senior forward Holly Huff, the current co-ACC Player of the Week, as well as UNC leading scorer Kristen McCann, who has garnered 31 points (15 goals and one assist) this season.

    The Heels will host No. 5 Michigan tonight before heading to Charlottesville. They are coming off a 4-3 overtime win against No. 4 Wake Forest Tuesday.

    Virginia is in the midst of a flurry of games; tonight will be its fourth contest in the past week. But Wilk said the solution is simple.

    "It's an awfully tough stretch we're having right now," Wilk said. "We're just going to go out in practice and prepare ourselves for Georgetown. And then we will go out and do the same for UNC"


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