No. 11 field hockey stays perfect with wins against UMass-Lowell and No.14 Ohio State

Cavaliers improve to 4-0 with a dominant effort Friday and thrilling fourth quarter finish Sunday


Sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Hausheer made several crucial saves this weekend to help Virginia remain undefeated. 

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The No. 11 Virginia field hockey team continued its hot play coming off of a weekend in which it beat Old Dominion and Penn State. The Cavaliers (4-0, 0-0 ACC) beat UMass-Lowell (1-2, 0-0 America East) and No. 14 Ohio State (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) in back-to-back showdowns that highlight the depth and all-around strength of this year’s squad.

In a game that highlighted Virginia’s improved offense and stifling defense, the Cavaliers topped the River Hawks 4-1.

Virginia started off aggressively, looking to score through the team’s leading attackers. The Cavaliers netted a goal in each of the first two quarters, both coming from junior striker Makayla Gallen, who leads the team with four goals so far in 2019. 

Gallen’s individual ball control and shot-creating ability was on full display as her first goal came after an impressive dribble move that gave her just the angle and space she needed to strike a goal past UMass-Lowell’s backline.

In the second quarter, freshman striker Olivia Marrus provided the assist as Gallen put the Cavaliers up 2-0 going into the second half. 

Virginia’s quick counter-attacks and passing-centered offense were clearly too much for the River Hawks to handle early on, as UMass-Lowell never controlled the ball consistently enough to put pressure on the Cavaliers’ defense in the first half.

The third quarter proved to be much of the same, as Virginia scored two more goals to round out the scoring effort on the day. 

Junior midfielder Rachel Robinson capitalized on a UMass-Lowell penalty corner and tapped in her second goal off the season off an assist by sophomore midfielder Annie McDonough. Four minutes later, senior midfielder Erin Shanahan broke away on an isolation attack and shot a rocket past the opposing goalkeeper for her second goal of the season.

Virginia sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Hausheer anchored the Cavaliers’ defense, as she registered five saves on the day and allowed just one goal. In the first three games of the season, Virginia has only conceded two goals. 

Things were more dramatic, however, during Sunday’s 2-1 win against Ohio State. Virginia and Ohio State both started off the game slowly, with both sides conceding penalty corners and the Buckeyes dominating possession in the first quarter.

In what became a theme throughout the first half, Virginia outshot Ohio State but never found the goal, as the Buckeyes’ defensive front proved too difficult to crack. After the Buckeyes had several chances against Hausheer, the most defining play of the first half occurred with four seconds left on the clock.

A penalty stroke surrendered by Virginia put Hausheer toe-to-toe with Ohio State senior midfielder Esther Clotet Alsina. As Alsina fired a beaming shot from a few yards in front of the goal, Hausheer displayed her incredible athleticism with a jumping save from the upper left deck of the net that ended the first half and gave Virginia the momentum it would need for the second half. 

Ohio State was aggressive in the third quarter, controlling most of the possession and forcing Virginia to surrender penalty corners to the tune of five to two in favor of the Buckeyes. Virginia allowed Ohio State’s only goal of the day off of a penalty corner — Hausheer saved two penalty corners but Ohio State scrambled to rebound and netted the goal with 10:51 left in the third quarter.

Virginia quickly began its own counterattack but could not get on the scoreboard until the last period of play. Freshman striker Laura Janssen proved to be the difference for the Cavaliers, becoming the fourth Virginia player to score multiple goals already in the young season.

Janssen’s first goal to tie the game came off an assist by sophomore midfielder Greer Gill early in the fourth period. Virginia took advantage of a counterattack opportunity and raced the ball past the Buckeye defense for a quick equalizer.

As both sides looked to grab hold of the game in the waning moments, Janssen again came through in the clutch to vault Virginia over the top to remain undefeated. 

Virginia was granted a penalty corner with 3:02 remaining in the game and then the Cavaliers’ first shot on goal was deflected by Ohio State into the air in front of the net. Just 14 seconds later, Janssen extended her stick fully and nudged the ball into the right side of the goal in what was a remarkable display of instinct and awareness on her part to give Virginia the lead. 

The Cavaliers’ 4-0 start is an improvement from 2018’s 3-1 record through the first four games. Next up, Virginia will travel to No. 2 Maryland Friday. The game is slated for 5 p.m. in College Park, Md. 

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