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Field hockey season ends in heartbreak

<p>Junior midfielder Tara Vittese scored a goal in both of Virginia's games this weekend.</p>

Junior midfielder Tara Vittese scored a goal in both of Virginia's games this weekend.

Just a week after winning its first ACC tournament title in program history, the No. 7 Virginia field hockey team saw its NCAA run come to a sudden halt. After winning their opening game against No. 10 Michigan, 2-1, the Cavaliers (16-8, 3-3 ACC) lost to No. 14 Princeton, 3-2.

While a season-ending loss is always devastating, a game-winning goal scored with no time left on the clock only made the defeat more painful. The game was heading to overtime before Princeton (12-7, 5-2 Ivy) sophomore striker Sophia Tornetta took a successful shot in the dying seconds. The two field referees and the sideline official conferred before deciding the goal counted and Princeton had won. The Tigers will be playing in the NCAA semifinals next weekend in Norfolk, Va.

Freshman striker Erin Shanahan and junior midfielder Tara Vittese both scored for the Cavaliers. Vittese, the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, ended the season with a team-high 41 points, with 15 goals and 11 assists.

Virginia played the Wolverines (12-8, 5-3 Big 10) Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals against Princeton. Both games were at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex in University Park, Pa.

Shanahan and Vittese again each scored a goal against Michigan. Vittese netted the game-winner off of a penalty corner midway through the second half.

Despite the difficult loss, Virginia had one of its most successful seasons in the program’s history, highlighted by winning the ACC Championship against North Carolina, 4-2, Nov. 6.