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No. 12 field hockey opens the season with one win and one loss

Despite a heartbreaking loss to Penn State, the Cavaliers bounced back against Delaware

<p>The Cavaliers put together a dominant performance against Delaware to cap off their weekend with a win.</p>

The Cavaliers put together a dominant performance against Delaware to cap off their weekend with a win.

In the opening weekend of the 2022 season, Virginia field hockey delivered a promising performance. The Cavaliers (1-1, 0-0 ACC) narrowly fell to No. 11 Penn State Friday, then cruised to victory against No. 17 Delaware Sunday afternoon. 

Game 1 — Virginia 2, Penn State 3

The Cavaliers traveled to University Park, Pa. Friday afternoon for their first matchup of the 2022 slate. The first period provided little action, ending scoreless with the Cavaliers putting up two shots and the Nittany Lions (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) posting just one.

6:14 into the second quarter, sophomore back Jans Croon opened up scoring with a shot from the top of the circle. This goal proved significant, as it was the first goal of her collegiate career and the first assist in their Virginia careers for both freshman midfielder Dani Mendez-Trendler and graduate student transfer back Lindsay Dickinson.

With two minutes left in the period, Penn State got on the scoreboard with a penalty corner. The first half ended tied at 1-1, with the Nittany Lions outshooting the Cavaliers nine to seven.

The third period saw Cavalier sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Kennedy put on a clinic. Kennedy posted five saves to hold the score at 1-1 while the Cavaliers failed to put up a single shot all period. 

“Tyler [Kennedy] did an amazing job keeping us in the game,” Coach Michele Madison said. “That’s what you want from a goalie to keep you in the game so you have a chance to win it and she did.”

With 11:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, senior striker Laura Janssen retook the lead for the Cavaliers with a deflect off the Penn State goalie’s stick. The Nittany Lions quickly countered with yet another goal off a penalty corner. Penn State dominated the corners all game, finishing with a 14-7 advantage.

Penn State then took a 3-2 lead with 33.3 seconds remaining in the game after a breakaway shot. Despite pulling their goalie, the Cavaliers could not make the equalizing shot and got handed their first loss of the season. The game ended with Penn State outshooting Virginia 21-11. 

“It was a significant effort in a significant game to open the season,” Madison said. “We had high points that we can build on. We led twice in the game. Then there are parts of the game that we definitely need to address.”

Game 2 - Virginia 4, Delaware 1

The Cavaliers looked to bounce back Sunday afternoon in Newark, Del., as they took on No. 17 Delaware. After yet another scoreless first period, the Blue Hens (1-1, 0-0 CAA) found the net just under five minutes into the second period. 

Ten minutes later, after her first shot bounced off the goalie’s pads, Mendez-Trendler tapped in her first collegiate goal to tie the score at 1-1. This road trip saw two players score the first goal of their collegiate careers, with Mendez-Trendler scoring hers in this game and Croon scoring hers in the previous game versus Penn State.

The Cavaliers got off to a hot start in the second half, as sophomore striker Taryn Tkachuk, assisted by junior midfielder Meghen Hengerer, found the net just 1:29 into play. A mere minute later, senior striker Laura Janssen capitalized on a penalty corner and pushed Virginia’s lead to 3-1. 

Janssen added insurance to the Cavalier’s advantage and posted yet another penalty corner goal 1:04 into the fourth period. She finished the opening weekend with an impressive three goals in two games, two of which came from the corner. 

The Blue Hens were unable to mount any resistance to the Cavaliers, and the final score came out as a 4-1 Virginia victory.

“It’s great to get our first win here on the road taking on a competitive Delaware team,” Madison said. “Once we established our passing game, it led to scoring situations. We had nice action in front of the goal. It was a solid defense by the back line again with Jans Croon, Madeline Orsi, Emily Field and Lindsay Dickinson to handle a huge counterattack offense by Delaware.” 

This win was a complete team effort, as 22 Cavaliers saw playing time. 

“It’s always good for the team when everyone can get minutes,” Madison said.

Virginia looks ahead to opening up play at home this weekend, with the home opener on the blue turf Friday at 6 p.m. against Temple.