No. 9 Virginia field hockey played an impressive pair of games over the weekend, defeating No. 5 Louisville on the road before traveling to Oxford, Ohio to secure another win against Miami University. The Cavaliers (11-3, 2-2 ACC) were powered by a stellar offensive performance in a fourth quarter comeback to defeat ACC foe Louisville (10-2, 2-2 ACC) 2-1 and used a strong defensive performance to blank the RedHawks (7-7, 2-1 MAC) 1-0.
Following a subpar performance against ACC opponent Boston College and a slim overtime victory over Old Dominion last weekend, the Cavaliers shifted gears in order to beat Louisville, the No. 5 team in the country.
The Cavaliers matched the Cardinals stride for stride out of the gate. Both teams went back and forth until junior midfielder Mercedes Pastor netted the first goal of the game for Louisville with just 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Virginia was able to create chances, registering three shots in the first half, but could not find the back of the net and the score was 1-0 at the half.
The Cavaliers made adjustments during the break and controlled the pace in the third quarter. Virginia accounted for three shots compared to Louisville’s two, but still couldn’t register a goal.
Despite the Cavaliers’ struggles to score in the first three quarters, Virginia finally broke through Louisville’s lines in an attack-heavy fourth quarter. The Cavaliers registered five shots in the frame, and with just over ten minutes remaining, freshman striker Laura Janssen scored an equalizer off an assist by Annie McDonough, her fifth goal of the season. Just over five minutes later, senior striker Erin Shanahan netted her fourth goal of the season to seal the team’s first top-5 win of the season.
Following the impressive come from behind victory over the Cardinals, the Cavaliers quickly turned their attention to the RedHawks, as they were tasked with their second consecutive road game on the weekend.
The Cavaliers played a flawless game and the RedHawks failed to register a single shot against the aggressive Virginia defense. The offense was equally as impressive with 14 shots.
Freshman back Cato Geusgens scored the game-winner early in the first quarter. Assisted by sophomore midfielder Greer Gill and senior back Anzel Viljoen, Geusgens scored just under four minutes into the game off a corner play.
After the Virginia defense faced challenges a weekend ago, allowing three goals, the unit bounced back this weekend to allow just one goal over two games.
Virginia plays against ACC rival Duke Friday at 4:30 p.m. The game will be played at home on Turf Field and be broadcasted on ACC Network.