No. 6 Virginia field hockey traveled to Durham, N.C. Friday to face No. 25 Duke before taking on Miami on Turf Field in Charlottesville Sunday afternoon. The Cavaliers (9-3, 3-1 ACC) defeated the Blue Devils (5-8, 0-4 ACC) by a score of 3-2 and won against the RedHawks (7-6, 3-1 MAC) with a final score of 2-1, securing their fifth and sixth straight victories. Virginia is now second in ACC standings, behind only No. 1 ranked North Carolina.
Game 1 — Virginia 3, Duke 2
Virginia dominated on both offense and defense for the entire first quarter. The Cavaliers recorded seven shots and five penalty corners, while suffocating Duke on defense. However, graduate student goalkeeper Grace Brightbill recorded three saves, sending Virginia into the second quarter scoreless.
Only 23 into the second quarter, the Cavaliers struck gold. Graduate student midfielder Annie McDonough carried the ball into the circle before sending it through two Blue Devils defenders to freshman midfielder Daniela Mendez-Trendler for a deflection past Brightbill. The goal marked the sixth for Mendez-Trendler, the reigning ACC Co-Offensive Player of the Week.
Duke was granted their first scoring opportunity in the 19th minute with a penalty corner. The initial shot by sophomore forward Issy Carey was blocked by the Cavaliers, but the follow-up by senior forward Hannah Miller slipped past freshman goalkeeper Jet Trimborn for the equalizer.
Virginia retaliated less than a minute later by capitalizing on a penalty corner. A controlled stop off of the insertion by McDonough set the ball up perfectly for sophomore midfielder Noa Boterman to fire a reverse shot that rocketed into the right corner, putting the Cavaliers on top once again.
In the last minute of the half, another penalty corner put Virginia on the scoreboard again. Senior back Cato Geusgens fired the first shot, which was saved by Brightbill and left loose in front of the goal. Senior forward Laura Janssen was able to find the ball off of the right post and fire it in to put the Cavaliers up 3-1 going into halftime. The goal was Janssen’s eighth of the season, the most of anyone on Virginia’s roster.
The second half of the game elicited significantly less circle play than the first, as the Blue Devils attempted to come back and the game became a battle in the midfield. In the third quarter, Duke was able to capitalize on a penalty stroke taken by Carey to put them within one goal, but struggled to find any further offense. Virginia tallied an 18-4 advantage in shots and a 10-1 edge in penalty corners, winning 3-2.
“I was proud of the team’s ability to maintain their composure during seemingly chaotic parts of the game and to create,” said Coach Michele Madison. “Our defense held strong and our attack found different ways to attack a very good defensive team.”
Game 2 — Virginia 2, Miami 1
An early possession battle ensured the majority of play stayed in the midfield with not much action in the circles, until junior midfielder Anneloes Knol got a shot through 10:35 into the first quarter. With a pass across the net from sophomore forward Taryn Tkachuk, Knol put the Cavaliers on the board with her first goal of the season. It would be the only goal of the first half, putting Virginia up 1-0.
The RedHawks saw six penalty corners and shooting opportunities in the last five minutes of the third quarter, marking a change in the match’s pace. Although Miami took multiple shots on goal and put an immense amount of pressure on Virginia’s defense, none of the shots met the back of the net.
With an assist up the sideline, Mendez-Trendler carried the ball into scoring territory, where she chipped the ball over the head of senior goalkeeper Isabelle Perese, gaining a second goal for Virginia 10:30 into the third quarter.
The Cavaliers went into the final quarter leading 2-0. Freshman midfielder Lauren Kenah had a breakaway toward Miami’s circle, rushing past defenders as she carried the ball up the field. Although her shot successfully got past Perese, it deflected off of the post and was recovered by the RedHawks’ defense.
After failing to convert a close opportunity, the RedHawks finally found success 7:45 into the fourth quarter. Sophomore back Katherine Groff put Miami on the board as she recovered the ball from a rebound off of Trimborn.
Although both teams became more aggressive in their play as the game drew to a conclusion, neither saw any more shots and the Cavaliers emerged victorious.
“Miami always presents a very different style of hockey,” Coach Michele Madison said. “It’s very effective for them. They have quick passes and are able to find the spaces fast. They did that today and created some havoc for us.”
The Cavaliers will resume conference play as they host No. 14 Wake Forest Friday at 5 p.m. The match will be available to stream on ACCNX.