No. 7 Virginia field hockey moves to 13-3 after sweeping its weekend series

The Cavaliers defeated ACC opponent Duke Friday before travelling to Philadelphia to defeat Drexel

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Sophomore back Amber Ezechiels scored her first goal of the year to cap off the come-from-behind win against No. 4 Duke. 

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

No. 7 Virginia defeated No. 4 Duke Friday afternoon at Turf Field in a highly anticipated ACC rivalry matchup, and followed Sunday with a close victory against a struggling Drexel team in Philadelphia. The Cavaliers (13-3, 3-2 ACC) extended into overtime to record a 3-2 victory against the Blue Devils (11-4, 1-3 ACC) before handling the Dragons (3-11, 1-2 CAA) in another 3-2 final.

Coming off an impressive road victory against then-No. 5 Louisville last weekend, Virginia faced another test against a talented No. 4 Duke team this weekend. The Cavaliers tackled the challenge head on, matching the Blue Devils stride for stride before ultimately clinching the victory in overtime.

The game was tight the entire way as Duke registered 12 shots and Virginia accounted for 13. Both offenses had five shots in the first half, but the defenses were up to the challenge, conceding zero goals and entering the half scoreless. 

Duke scored just over seven minutes into the third quarter off a goal by sophomore forward Olivia Sahaydak, who capitalized on her chance when Virginia sophomore goalie Lauren Hausheer came out of the net and left an opening.

However, freshman back Cato Geusgens answered and scored her fifth goal of the season in the fourth quarter. The goal came off of a corner play, and sophomore midfielder Greer Gill and senior back Anzel Viljoen served assists. 

The Blue Devils responded quickly after being awarded a penalty shot. Hausheer was able to get a piece of the ball but ultimately could not stop the shot by senior midfielder Haley Schleicher, and Duke regained the lead.

Down 2-1 with over a minute to play in the game, Virginia appeared out of it until they were awarded a penalty corner. Viljoen scored her fifth goal off of the corner to tie the game at 2-2 and send the game into overtime.

Riding a wave of momentum after the Viljoen goal, Virginia did not look back in the overtime period. The defense did not allow a single shot, and just under two minutes in, sophomore back Amber Ezechiels scored her first goal of the year to cap off the come-from-behind win. 

Following their impressive victory over Duke, the Cavaliers turned their attention to a road battle against Drexel. Despite winning the contest by only a goal, the Cavaliers dominated from start to finish. Virginia maintained control of the pace throughout and out-shot the Dragons 21-8. 

Both teams led with a strong offensive attack, with all five goals of the game coming in the first half. Sophomore midfielder Annie McDonough struck first, just over three minutes into the game, but senior midfielder Tess Horan responded a few minutes later off of a deflected goal. With about 30 seconds left in the first quarter, Gill scored a short tap in to make the game 2-1. 

Drexel junior forward Chandler McFeeley and Viljoen would exchange goals in the second quarter to produce a final score of 3-2.

After a rough patch midway through the season, the Cavaliers have found their rhythm at the perfect time, winning five straight games, three of which were against ranked opponents. 

The Cavaliers return home to play No. 17 Liberty next Monday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ACC Network.

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