The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Virginia field hockey’s 2021 season preview

The Cavaliers have all the tools to bounce back from a difficult year and return to tournament play in 2021

<p>Virginia returns many of its esteemed veterans this year.</p>

Virginia returns many of its esteemed veterans this year.

Expectations are high for No. 8 Virginia, especially considering last year’s cumulative record of 7-11 (4-7 ACC) and its failure to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in the spring. Despite their underwhelming performance on account of a difficult schedule in 2020-2021, the Cavaliers are projected to return to form this fall. Once again, the schedule presents challenges at every turn — however, the Cavaliers’ seasoned roster is well-equipped to handle their opponents and make a deep playoff run — hopefully one that’s reminiscent of 2019’s Final Four squad. The ACC coaches poll has Virginia finishing third in the conference and so far, Virginia has experienced mixed results — losing a tough season opener to No. 16 Penn State 3-2 in overtime before defeating No. 17 Delaware 3-1 on Sunday. 

Roster Breakdown

The Cavaliers’ strength on its roster this year is its experience and depth. The team is loaded with returning veteran defenders along the back line including graduate students and captains Makayla Gallen and Rachel Robinson. Robinson has earned First-Team All ACC her past two seasons. The pair’s leadership and tournament pedigree should contribute to a stout defensive effort across the board.

On goal, graduate goalkeeper Lauren Hausheer returns after making 50 saves last season. Another holdover from the 2019 Final Four group, her .744 save percentage that year was good for second in the ACC. Expect her to remain among the best keepers in the conference and also provide mentorship to fellow Virginia keepers, including highly-ranked freshman goalkeeper Tyler Kennedy.

On the attacking side, last year’s leading scorer, junior striker Laura Janssen, will look to pick up where she left off. Another top scorer from last year, junior midfielder Adele Iacobucci, will attempt to ride the success of being named a member of the 2021-22 US Women’s National Field Hockey Team. The addition of seven freshmen across various position groups only contributes to the intensive depth of the Cavaliers’ roster. 

Schedule Preview

As was the case last year, Virginia has a demanding schedule to test its skills against. 13 out of the team’s 17 games will have them face top-25 ranked teams, as determined by the NFHCA Coaches Poll. Having already dropped the opener against No.16 Penn State, the team must find ways to win against additional lower-ranked teams to live up to their expectations. 

Luckily, the Cavaliers have an easy travelling schedule, with 11 home matches versus just six away. Additionally, two of the six away matches will take place within state lines, facing William and Mary Sept. 3 and No. 18 Old Dominion Oct. 17.

Virginia will have six ACC matches and 11 non-conference matches. Among the conference games, a late season matchup against No. 14 Syracuse and the regular season finale against No.1 North Caroline will be vital for tournament seedings.


The Cavaliers have the depth, experience and overall talent to finish among the top teams in the country this season. Expect their defense to hold strong against the best the NCAA has to offer, while their balanced offensive attack pecks away against their opponents. 

It’s tough to pick them as champions when the ACC’s predicted last place team is ranked 14th in the nation, but it’d be difficult to count them out either. Barring devastating injuries or COVID-19 related concerns, the Cavaliers have as good a shot as any team to make another Final Four run.