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Virginia looks for spark against visiting Spiders

No. 2 Cavaliers host Richmond in first round of NCAAs, hope fourth appearance in as many seasons with Madison yields title

Making its fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament during coach Michele Madison's four-year tenure at the helm, the No. 2 Virginia field hockey team will face Richmond (14-8) in first-round action Saturday at Turf Field.

One of 16 tournament teams, the Cavaliers will host only their second regional round in the program's 19 championship appearances. The squad also will gun for its 19th victory of the season - a mark which would tie the school record for wins in a season.

"The ACC is top in field hockey so in that aspect it has gotten us ready for the NCAA tournament," junior back Shelly Edmonds said. "The whole competitive environment in all is pretty exciting."

Virginia (18-3) will face a familiar foe in the Spiders, who fell to the Cavaliers 4-3 at their home stadium Sept. 30. Richmond, however, is fresh off claiming its sixth Atlantic-10 Championship in eight years with a 3-0 rout of Temple in the conference finals. The Spiders also upset No. 19 Massachusetts en route to the title.

"Every team you play is going to be tough," Madison said. "Richmond is a talented team and we know that. We have to bring our A-game."

Although the Spiders failed to earn an automatic bid into the championship bracket, they earned a ticket to Charlottesville by defeating Ohio in a 2-1 comeback victory in the bracket play-in game.\n"The last time we played Richmond was not our best game so we look to go out there and play well, stay on our mark, and focus," Edmonds said.

The Cavaliers are coming off last weekend's heartbreaking overtime loss against No. 1 Maryland in ACC Tournament Championship game. Despite Virginia's late-game miscues against the Terps, Virginia sophomores forward Paige Selenski and midfielder Inga St