The third-ranked Virginia field hockey team may be undefeated nine games into the season, but the path the Cavaliers took to reach their current success is not as rosy as their record indicates.
The optimism with which Virginia concluded the 2009 season after reaching the NCAA semifinals for the first time since 1998 was quickly tested during the off-season when all three international players and others on the roster left the team, even though they had remaining years of eligibility. Additionally, various international commitments stripped the team of its two best players during preseason training, as the team worked to incorporate a large, nine-member freshman class.
The Cavaliers, nevertheless, have managed to navigate adversity with their collective head held high. Much of this resilience is derived from the strong and poised coaching staff, but two members of the team's freshman class have done their part to boost team morale and fill the shoes of former international starters Charlotte van den Broek, Floor Vogels and Inga St