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Field hockey falls to Duke in NCAA quarterfinals

<p>Junior striker Caleigh Foust scored the lone Virginia goal in the 2-1 loss to the Blue Devils.&nbsp;</p>

Junior striker Caleigh Foust scored the lone Virginia goal in the 2-1 loss to the Blue Devils. 

A day after defeating Delaware 4-3 in an overtime battle, the Virginia field hockey team fell 2-1 to Duke at University Hall Turf Field. The Cavaliers gave up two first half goals and were unable to claw back into the game, seeing a fantastic 15-win season come to an end.

Virginia showed off its tenacity Saturday against the Blue Hens. The first half saw an offensive explosion, in which both teams scored three goals. Sophomore midfielder Tara Vittese — the Cavaliers’ leading scorer during the regular season — opened scoring just seven minutes into the game with a perfectly placed backhanded shot. The teams went back and forth afterward, with Delaware taking a brief 3-2 lead before junior striker Riley Tata knotted the score at three apiece before the break.

Defensive adjustments during halftime proved to be critical, as neither team could find the back of the net in the second frame. The Blue Hens had perhaps the best scoring opportunity 15 minutes into the second half, when Virginia was issued back-to-back yellow cards, giving Delaware a two-player advantage for four minutes.

In the overtime period, Delaware threatened in the first 30 seconds, but Virginia redshirt freshman goalkeeper Carrera Lucas answered the call and kept the Cavaliers alive. After trading a series of chances, junior midfielder Lucy Hyams created a fast break opportunity, where she found Tata all alone. The Virginia Beach native made no mistake, and sent the Cavaliers to the quarterfinals.

The Cavaliers’ first half defensive struggles continued Sunday. Virginia allowed nine shots in the opening frame, two of which were converted into goals. The lone Cavalier goal of the game came when junior striker Caleigh Foust finished a fast break opportunity created by senior striker Taylor Brown.

Virginia outshot the Blue Devils 8-3 in the second half, but were unable to create quality chances inside the circle. The Cavaliers finished the season with a 15-6 record.