For the fourth weekend in a row, the Virginia field hockey team won one game and lost the other. No. 14 Virginia (4-4, 0-1 ACC) has underwhelmed so far this season after starting the year ranked fifth in the country and returning all but one player.
The Cavaliers played well on Friday, winning 2-0 against Princeton. The No. 10 Tigers (3-2, 0-0 Ivy), who outshot Virginia 25-21, had four more shots on goal than Virginia. It was the first win of the season for the Cavaliers where they were outshot in both categories.
Sophomore goalkeeper Carrera Lucas recorded her first career shut out in the win, while also logging a career high 14 saves. Princeton sophomore goalkeeper Grace Baylis had nine saves on the day.
“Personally playing full games is a new thing, and I was really confident in the defense in front of me,” Lucas said. “We did give up a decent number of corners but we handled them well and knew what our job was. Obviously it worked.”
Junior midfielder Tara Vittese scored the first goal for Virginia off of a penalty corner. It was her fourth goal of the season. Senior midfielder Lucy Hyams, who has a team-high five assists on the year, set up Vittese on the play. Five minutes into the second half, senior striker Caleigh Foust doubled the team’s lead off of a rebound. It was Foust’s third goal of the year.
“[It was a] great spectator game the first half, up and down play,” coach Michele Madison said. “We were able to move the ball well.”
Despite the shutout win, the Cavaliers were not at their best. Defense was an area the team focused on improving, especially with the number of shots Virginia allowed.
“We still have to work on our defense and protecting our circle but [it was] a great team effort today,” Madison said.
The defensive deficiencies were highlighted in the game Sunday against Connecticut. Up 2-0 at half, the No. 5 Huskies (7-0, 1-0 AAC) scored six goals in the second half. The eight goals Connecticut netted were the most they have scored in a single game this year. The 8-0 loss was the worst of the season for the Cavaliers.
“No team likes to have a game like this,” Madison said. “Connecticut just kept it simple and they were very effective. There are some things we need to work out and will be addressing those things in practice this week. We will bounce back from this.”
Junior striker Charlotte Veitner scored six of the eight Connecticut goals. Veitner has eight goals and six assists on the season. The Huskies outshot Virginia, 17-11, including a 14-2 advantage in shots on goal.
Each team had three penalty corners on the day, with Connecticut converting on one of them.
As a whole, Virginia was not able to create enough offensive opportunities. This, coupled with inconsistent defense, resulted in the devastating loss.
Virginia will have the whole week to prepare for its next opponent, Boston College. The Cavaliers play in Newton, Mass. Friday at 6 p.m.