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​Field hockey looks to bounce back after tough loss

Virginia will play its first game since losing 8-0 to Connecticut Friday

<p>Senior striker Riley Tata&nbsp;comes into her last season as a Cavalier&nbsp;after being second on the team last season with 14 goals.&nbsp;</p>

Senior striker Riley Tata comes into her last season as a Cavalier after being second on the team last season with 14 goals. 

Following a third consecutive week with both a win and loss, the next few games will test No. 16 Virginia. The Cavaliers (4-4, 0-1 ACC) again sit at .500 on the year. Their last loss, to No. 4 Connecticut, was the worst of the year. Down 2-0 at half, the Huskies (7-0, 1-0 AAC) exploded in the second half to end up winning the game 8-0.

Junior striker Charlotte Veitner led the way for Connecticut, scoring six of the team’s goals by herself. Veitner has eight goals and six assists on the year.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years coaching,” coach Michele Madison said, regarding Veitner’s offensive display.

While the Cavaliers had 11 shots on the day — six fewer than the Huskies — only two of them were on goal. The failure to create meaningful shots coupled with shaky defense were leading factors in the extreme loss.

“It’s not just defense — it’s that the whole team’s defense is getting used to each other,” Madison said. “We need to work on communicating and adapt to seeing new faces.”

The team members must adapt not only to each other, but also to the different schemes both Connecticut and other schools coming their way.

“We need to see the different things they throw at us,” Madison said. “When we bring the ball out of the back, we have to adjust on the fly and adjust what we’re doing.”

The loss provides a unique opportunity for the team to draw notes on what it needs to improve on. Both the players and coaches were not lost on this.

“It was really hard to lose 8-0 but I think it’s time to revamp,” senior striker Riley Tata said. “Now we know what we need to work on and we can only get better from there.”

Madison had a similar sentiment on the teaching points of the loss. Especially since the Huskies are one of the premier teams in the country.

“We’re not happy — we realized the things we have to work on,” Madison said. “If you’re going to lose, make a lesson out of it. We lost to a very good team.”

Any loss is difficult, but such a large one is especially difficult to stomach, especially coming off a victory. In their game just before playing Connecticut, Virginia put together a complete performance in an impressive 2-0 win over No. 13 Princeton.

“The response is going to be big,” Madison said. “[It will be] how we show up to the game and how much we fight for it.”

And that response will be towards Boston College — the second conference game of the season for the Cavaliers.

“We’re definitely excited to get back on the field against BC — they’re always a tough, difficult team to play against,” Tata said. “We’re looking forward to playing them and were prepared to go after it and get it done.”

No. 9 Boston College has one thing in common with Connecticut. They both scored eight goals in their last game. However, Virginia will pose a much greater challenge than Northeastern.

Despite losing to No. 1 Syracuse, the Eagles (4-3, 1-1 ACC) have quite a few quality wins, which includes a 2-1 win over No. 5 North Carolina last Friday.

As a whole, the Cavaliers are focused on continuing to improve and not letting one loss define them. Their mindset moving forward is to succeed when it matters.

“We just have to go after it,” Tata said. “We’ve already been in the ditch, and we just have to climb up and get out of it. It’s almost good to lose now rather than in the tournament when it really matters.”

Virginia plays Friday in Newton, Mass. The game is set to start at 6 p.m.