No. 7 field hockey falls short at No. 20 Liberty, 3-2

Virginia couldn’t hold onto its first half lead when the Flames launched a three-goal comeback


Freshman striker Grace Wallis scored one goal against Liberty.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The No. 7 Virginia field hockey team fell to No. 20 Liberty Sunday, playing through the rain in Lynchburg. Though the Cavaliers (3-3, 1-0 ACC) shut out Liberty (4-2, 0-0 Big East) in the first half, they were unable to prevent a comeback including two goals off penalty corners.

Both teams had few chances in the circle through the first half.  Despite early penalty corners on each side, 35 minutes of play yielded only four shots from Virginia and three by Liberty.  The Cavaliers began to build a lead starting with a forehand shot by sophomore striker Makayla Gallen just over 15 minutes into the game.  

A second shot by Gallen opened up an opportunity for Virginia’s following goal near the end of the period.  Freshman striker Grace Wallis scored on a rebound, tapping the ball past junior junior goalkeeper Allison Schaefer’s pads and pushing the score to 2-0 for the Cavaliers.

Liberty rallied early in the second half with a goal off a feed pass under three minutes into the period.  The Flames managed to tie up the game, 2-2, with a tip off a penalty corner after a 20 minute back-and-forth where neither team managed a shot on goal.

Virginia struggled to convert two consecutive penalty corners to reclaim the lead.  With two minutes left to play, Liberty freshman midfielder Alivia Klopp tipped the ball off the right post in what turned out to be a game-winning goal.  The Cavaliers pulled senior goalkeeper Carrera Lucas to play with a player advantage on the field, but ultimately could not get off a shot even as they pushed into Liberty’s circle in the final minute.  

The Cavaliers’ contest against top-ranked North Carolina (7-0, 0-0 ACC) was scheduled for last Friday but postponed due to Hurricane Florence. That match has yet to be rescheduled.  The Cavaliers will next play Friday evening against Boston College (3-3, 1-1 ACC) at 6 p.m. in Newton, Mass.       

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