One day after senior midfielders Paige Selenski and Michelle Vittese punched their tickets to the 2012 Olympics with Team USA by upsetting world No. 1 Argentina 4-2, the Virginia field hockey team scored a huge upset win against No. 6 Duke Saturday. The Cavaliers rode timely scoring and an impressive defensive effort to a dramatic 3-2 victory on penalty strokes.
"They knew that was a long shot for the USA, and a long shot for them today, and they decided to go for it," coach Michele Madison said.
Virginia (8-11, 1-4 ACC) started the scoring early as a penalty corner during the second minute led to a goal from junior forward Britt Knouse - her eighth goal of the season. Duke (11-6, 2-3 ACC) responded during the 14th minute with a goal from junior midfielder Devon Gagliardi to tie the game. After their initial goal, the Cavaliers struggled to find offensive chances and took only two shots during the first half compared to Duke's eight. The score remained deadlocked, though, and the teams entered the break at 1-1.
During the second half Virginia again scored first as freshman forward Rachel Sumfest tipped in a pass from sophomore forward Elly Buckley to give the Cavaliers a 2-1 lead during the 41st minute. The Blue Devils tied it just five minutes later with a goal from sophomore midfielder Emmie La Marchand. Duke dominated the second half offensively and took 18 shots after the break, but the Virginia defense stymied the Blue Devils and surrendered only one goal. Freshman goalie Jenny Johnstone finished the game with a career-high 14 saves.
"We just went back to the basics," senior midfielder Alexandra Jahnle said. "We kept our basics skills on and just kept getting the ball out after corners. Everyone just stuck with it and worked really hard the whole game."
Timely scoring made the second half for Virginia. The team took only three shots but managed to convert on one. The Cavaliers were outshot 26-5 during regulation and took only three corners to Duke's 12, yet they kept the game tied.
During the two overtime periods the teams each took two shots but were unable to break through on the scoreboard, sending the game into penalty strokes tied 2-2. Both teams converted the first three penalty shots before Duke's senior midfielder Tara Jennings missed the fourth. Buckley netted her goal to give the Cavaliers a 4-3 advantage, and senior midfielder Rhian Jones missed the Blue Devils' fifth shot to seal the win for Virginia.
The upset win came on Senior Day, as the team honored its three graduating seniors, and was a fitting last game for the players.
"I love playing on this team, and I'll definitely miss it," Jahnle said. "It was such an exciting game to play, and I'm happy with it."
The Cavaliers now shift their focus to the ACC Tournament, which begins Thursday in College Park, Md. Virginia, the No. 6 seed, will suffer a case of d