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Cavs aim to keep record perfect against Lafayette

Team looks to clean up attack against unranked foe before ACC schedule

The No. 3 Virginia field hockey team - equipped with an unblemished 6-0 record despite a particularly tough schedules so far - may look stellar to the distant eye, but don't go telling that to coach Michele Madison.

With the start of conference play against Boston College looming next week, Madison and her staff assert that the team has plenty of improvements to make and questions to answer.

"There are obvious things we have to fix before the beginning of ACC play," Madison said. "We have to connect well attack-wise and play better. We didn't play our best last weekend, and our team is still developing, so there are still roles to fill. Our team has a long way to go before we are ready for the ACC stretch."

As the Cavaliers travel up to Easton, Pa. Saturday for a match against unranked Lafayette (2-3), they will seek to resolve their remaining issues, as well as play on the strengths they have demonstrated.

Although junior midfielder Paige Selenski - the team's leading scorer with nine goals on the year - was held scoreless last weekend against Ohio State and Syracuse, the depth of the Cavaliers' roster helped to keep the goals coming. Sophomore midfielder Tara Puffenberger earned national and ACC Player of the Week honors after putting away four goals during the two-game stretch, including a hat trick against the Buckeyes. Freshman forward Elly Buckley also proved instrumental in the successful weekend, tallying three assists and one goal of her own.

"Both Ohio State and Syracuse were able to shut down Paige [Selenski] and Michelle [Vittese] last week, and we'll need to find more players to step up," Madison said. "Tara [Puffenberger] and Elly [Buckley] stepped up last week, and hopefully we find more players who can step up and fill roles on our team."

As a result, many squad members may look forward to their opportunities to prove themselves this weekend.

"The game will be exciting, certainly," Madison said. "From what I know, Lafayette's running a special promotion for our game - [Lafayette alumnus Bill Rappolt] is donating $1 for every student that attends the game and $5 for every faculty member to charity. They are definitely excited to bring us to their place, and we're excited as well."

Everyone on the Virginia sideline recognizes the importance of coming together as a team, and they hope their chemistry will carry forward as they face off against a relatively light opponent this weekend.

"My performances last week were a testament to the team," Puffenberger said. "Elly and the rest of the team just kept feeding the ball to me and I scored, but it really was a team effort ... I think I did well this weekend because coach Madison's system finally clicked with me. This team is hopefully coming together, but we still have to practice and play hard this weekend."

Saturday's tilt against the Leopards is set for 1 p.m.