Following a victory against East Carolina in their season opener, No. 16 Virginia met No. 10 Richmond on the road Friday in an early season ranked showdown. The Cavaliers (2-0, 0-0 ACC) established an insurmountable lead early, overpowering the Spiders (1-1, 0-0 Patriot) on both ends of the field to secure a 15-9 victory.
As she did in the first game of the year, junior midfielder Annie Dyson opened the scoring for the Cavaliers, drawing a foul and converting on a free position shot just over two minutes into the game. The Spiders, however, did not take long to respond, tying the game up just 29 seconds later with a score from sophomore midfielder Kendall Duffy, who converted off of sophomore midfielder Lindsey Frank’s set up.
Virginia continued to press on offense, forcing Richmond into several early defensive mistakes. Freshman midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg took advantage of another free position shot, converting it to put the Cavaliers back on top. Just 34 seconds after Hoeg capitalized on the opportunity, the Spiders’ defense gifted yet another free position shot, this time to junior attacker Lillie Kloak. The junior attacker had no problem finishing off her chance, and the Cavaliers suddenly had a two-goal advantage following Richmond’s defensive miscues.
Free penalty shots were a huge storyline in the first half, as Virginia converted six of its 10 attempts, while Richmond scored only one of its two.
As the game went on, the Cavaliers continued to have their way on offense. Over the next 5:29 of gameplay, Virginia would add five unanswered goals to its tally with five different players scoring, including junior attacker Ashlyn McGovern, who scored her first goal of the game after netting four against East Carolina.
Despite an early punch in the mouth, Richmond tried to claw its way back into the game. Frank, who set up the Spiders’ first goal of the game, took control of the offense, scoring two quick goals in the span of 47 seconds to bring the Cavalier lead down to six.
Despite cutting into the Virginia lead, the Spiders’ struggle to defend the Cavaliers within the 8-meter arc halted the progress made on the offensive end. McGovern scored her second goal of the game off another free penalty shot to get the Cavaliers back in the scoring column.
McGovern was not done, however. She completed the hat trick just 55 seconds later, this time off a feed from senior attacker Taylor Regan, her third assist of the season. Both teams would enter a scoring drought that lasted over five minutes, until Regan scored her first goal of the game to put the Cavaliers up 11-3.
With under ten minutes to go in the first half and down by eight goals, the Spiders needed to move quickly to have any chance at making a comeback. They did just that, as graduate midfielder Madison Ostrick put Richmond back in the scoring column. Sophomore attacker Arden Tierney would follow up four minutes later to cut the lead back down to six going into halftime.
Richmond opened up the second half the same way it closed the first, controlling possession and playing assertively on offense. After three minutes of no scoring to open the half, freshman attacker Marymargarat Quinn beat senior goalkeeper Charlie Campbell. Two minutes later, senior attacker Sam Geiersbach scored on a free position shot of her own.
After opening up a quick eight-goal advantage in the first half, the Cavaliers saw a steady offensive attack cut the lead in half with 24 minutes still to go in the game.
In its first real test of the season, Virginia responded perfectly. Dyson scored her third goal of the game to get the Virginia offense back on track, starting a 4-1 scoring run that extended the lead back to seven. The Spiders scored a quick one late, but the damage had already been done, and Virginia walked away victorious, 15-9.
Virginia received huge contributions from several key veterans, including Dyson and McGovern, both of whom had hat tricks in the afternoon. Kloak added two of her own to bring her goal count up to five for the year. The Cavaliers also saw an impressive performance from Hoeg, who is starting to establish herself as a key cog on the offense after her three-point performance.
The Cavaliers return home for their next meeting against their in-state rival Virginia Tech Feb. 27 at 2 p.m.