In the Round of 16 in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, the Virginia field hockey team lost to Maryland. The Cavaliers (12-9, 3-3 ACC) gave it a valiant effort, but the Terrapins (14-6, 4-4 B1G) proved to be too big a force to handle.
During the first period, Virginia outshot Maryland 5-2, with four different players getting in on the action — junior midfielder Adele Iacobucci, graduate back Makayla Gallen, senior striker Peyton Tollaksen and senior back Amber Ezechiels. Despite some great efforts by these four, the Terrapins’ goalkeeper and defense was too strong for the Cavaliers to net any of their shots.
In the second period, Maryland came out with a newfound fire and scored its first goal after just 1:18 had elapsed — a shot that went into the upper corner of the cage. Virginia wasn’t able to find that same heat, though it did make three shots in the second period. The Terrapins also made three shots that period and took their 1-0 lead into the half.
After halftime, Maryland made the first shot — an unsuccessful one, at that. The Cavaliers followed up shortly after with a shot of their own, but it didn’t end up in the net.
In the 40th minute, the Terrapins tacked on another goal. This one came from junior midfielder Emma DeBerdine off a deflection and brought them up 2-0 against a struggling Virginia team.
The Cavaliers remained scoreless for the remainder of the third period and most of the fourth. A glimmer of hope came when Virginia got a penalty corner with just a few minutes remaining in regulation. Ezechiels, from the top of the circle, connected with Iacobucci who sent it into the net — halving the Cavaliers’ deficit.
In an attempt to tie up the game, Virginia pulled its goalkeeper from the net — giving it an extra attacker against the Terrapins’ ruthless defense. However, the Cavaliers weren’t able to produce any shots with this — ultimately falling 2-1.
Virginia ended its season with nine total losses, all of which were by a single goal — a heartbreaking end for a team that consistently fought against its opponents, but couldn’t always finish the job.