The Virginia field hockey team travelled to Syracuse Friday to open up ACC play at J.S. Coyne Stadium. The No. 5 Cavaliers (6-1, 1-0 ACC) topped the No. 19 Orange (6-2, 0-1 ACC) 2-0, using a strong defensive effort to start conference play on a high note.
Virginia was unable to generate significant chances in the first half. The Cavaliers shot just once in the first quarter and twice in the second quarter as Syracuse defended their home field well throughout the first half.
However, Virginia was much more aggressive in the third quarter, as the Cavaliers kept the ball in Syracuse’s half for nearly the entire period. Ultimately, Virginia converted its only shot on goal in the third quarter for a score.
Freshman back Cato Geusgens — a rising phenom for the Cavaliers — netted a well-executed goal from assists by sophomore midfielder Greer Gill and senior back Anzel Viljoen.
Just three minutes later, Viljoen scored a goal of her own to put Virginia up 2-0. Coming off of a penalty corner, Viljoen fired a quick strike through the Syracuse defensive front to seal the game for Virginia.
For both teams, this was the first match in what is shaping up to be another year of stiff ACC competition, as the conference currently has seven teams in the top 25 of the Coaches’ poll.
Rankings were not the only thing on the line during this game, however, as history was also made.
Field hockey Coach Michele Madison won her 400th game, becoming just the ninth coach in Division I history to achieve the feat.
Madison, grateful for the wins, gave most of the credit to her staff and players.
“There are a lot of great players in those 400 wins,” Madison said. “A lot of great coaching staffs. I feel very fortunate that I’ve had the people that I have had in my life to be successful. I am truly blessed to have the career I have had.”
Since taking over in 2005, Madison has become the winningest coach in Virginia field hockey history.
Nonetheless, there’s one thing that has eluded Madison’s trophy shelf for 14 successful years — a national championship at Virginia.
In pursuit of that first trophy — and Madison’s 401st win — Virginia hosts in-state rival James Madison Tuesday. The game will start at 6:00 p.m. at Turf Field and will be broadcasted on ACC Network Extra.