No. 5 field hockey splits weekend matchups, improving to 5-1 on the season

Cavaliers suffered first loss of the season to No. 3 Maryland Friday, but bounced back with a shutout of Yale Sunday

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Freshman back Cato Geusgens is one of three Dutch players on the field hockey team.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

Virginia lost in a thrilling shootout finish against Maryland, but quickly regrouped to hold Yale scoreless en route to a dominant victory this past weekend. The No. 5 Cavaliers (5-1, 0-0 ACC) nearly upset No. 3 Maryland (6-1, 0-0 B1G), and cruised past Yale (1-3, 0-0 Ivy) in their weekend matchups.

First, Virginia travelled to College Park, Md., Friday in a top-ten matchup that provided an early-season test for both the Cavaliers and the Terrapins. After a scoreless, defensive-minded first half, Virginia put up two goals in the third quarter, while Maryland scored a goal in both the third and fourth quarters to send the game into overtime.

The first half demonstrated why these two squads are ranked among the best ten field hockey teams in the country. Each attack by Virginia was met with a swift and rigid backline response from Maryland — the Terrapins allowed the Cavaliers to shoot just once in the entire half.

Meanwhile, Maryland could not capitalize on early chances, a credit to Virginia sophomore goalie Lauren Hausheer’s terrific play in the first half. Although the Terrapins shot six times in the first two quarters, Virginia managed to enter halftime without conceding a goal — an impressive feat considering the offensive firepower that Maryland has.

The third quarter featured much more offensive production from both teams. Within the first few minutes of the second half, Virginia junior striker Makayla Gallen scored from just outside the goal after Maryland allowed a penalty corner. 

Only six minutes later, Maryland tied the contest as the Terrapins’ passing attack finally got the best of Hausheer — she was caught on the wrong side of the goal.

In the waning minutes of the third quarter, junior midfielder Rachel Robinson made Maryland pay for another penalty corner as her shot found the back of the net, making it 2-1 Virginia.

However, Maryland tied the game at two goals apiece in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, and the score didn’t change as regulation ended. Neither side could create offense in the subsequent overtime periods.

The game was ultimately decided by a shootout period in which Maryland was able to out-duel Virginia after a lengthy matchup between the two title contenders. Virginia suffered its first loss of the season and returned to Charlottesville to host Yale Sunday.

Against Yale, Virginia showed why this year’s team is rich in talent. The Cavaliers opened up the game playing stellar defense.

Virginia dominated possession for much of the game, but especially in the first half — the Cavaliers held the Bulldogs scoreless as they struggled to string together any consistent offense.

The Cavaliers’ offense was not sharp to start off either. Virginia failed to connect on its passes close to the goal, preventing scoring opportunities. 

Just like against Maryland, penalty corners gave the Cavaliers the spark they needed. Freshman back Cato Guesgens scored twice on penalty corners surrendered by Yale, and sophomore midfielder Peyton Tollaksen scored her first goal of the season in the waning minutes of the game. Virginia won 3-0.

As the Cavaliers look ahead to their next matchup, Friday against No. 19 Syracuse at J.S. Coyne Stadum in Syracuse, N.Y., history is on the line for Coach Michele Madison.

Madison currently sits at 399 wins in her coaching career, and seeks to become a member of the prestigious 400-win club — cementing her legacy as one of the game’s best coaches.  

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