No. 7 Virginia hosted Kent State on the blue turf Sunday afternoon. The Cavaliers (11-5, 3-3 ACC) were coming off a tough loss against No. 1 North Carolina and looked to conclude their home slate with a win. The Cavaliers’ explosive offense quickly overpowered the Golden Flashes (7-8, 5-1 MAC) and delivered the fifth shutout of the season with a 3-0 victory on Senior Day in their final regular-season home game.
Virginia got off to a hot start in the first period. Just over the two-minute mark, graduate student midfielder Annie McDonough fired a shot into the corner of the net for her first goal of the season. She got the assist from senior striker Laura Janssen.
From here, it quickly became apparent that Virginia’s offense outmatched Kent State. The Cavaliers dominated possession for the majority of the game, and the ball was rarely found on their side of the field. Most gameplay occurred either in or closely surrounding the Golden Flashes’ circle.
Following the initial goal, Janssen tallied a shot looking for what would be her 10th goal of the season. She currently leads the team with 10 goals, 22 points and a whopping 46 shots. Her closest competition comes from freshman midfielder Daniela Mendez-Trendler, who holds eight goals and 19 points, and sophomore midfielder Noa Boterman, who has taken 31 shots.
Under a minute after Janssen’s shot was ultimately blocked, the Cavaliers were awarded a penalty corner. As per usual, Mendez-Trendler took the corner. Following a phenomenal pass through defenders by senior back Cato Geusgens, Mendez-Trendler took the shot for herself and snuck one by Kent State’s sophomore goaltender Cecile van Eijk, giving the Cavaliers an early 2-0 advantage.
After 11 minutes of play, the Golden Flashes finally secured their first substantial possession of the game, one that culminated in the awarding of a penalty corner. The air was sucked out of Turf Field as there was a massive gap in defenders right in front of the right side of the net. Fortunately for the Cavaliers, Kent State’s shot somehow went wide, far from the seemingly vulnerable spot.
The eventful first period continued, with the Cavaliers regaining possession and earning three consecutive penalty corners. All three were taken by Mendez-Trendler, but following shots were all taken by three different players, highlighting Virginia’s offensive depth. The shots from Geusgens and freshman midfielders Lauren Kenah and Caroline Nemec were all saved.
The second period was more of the same, as the Cavaliers jumped on the ball and quickly set up shop just outside the Golden Flashes’ circle. This allowed Janssen to get her 10th goal of the season and put the Cavaliers up 3-0. While Kent State wasn’t allowed to get a single shot in for the duration of the second period, Virginia had additional shots taken by junior midfielder Anneloes Knol, Nemec, Mendez-Trendler, and sophomore back Jans Croon.
The Golden Flashes looked to turn things around in the second half. After a Janssen shot was saved by a Kent State defender, they took possession and attempted to swing offensive momentum in their favor. A shot was quickly followed up by a penalty corner, but nothing resulted from this thanks to a swatting save by freshman goaltender Jet Trimborn.
The rest of the third period saw the Cavaliers continue their offensive onslaught, tallying an additional six unanswered shots.
Things finally cooled off by the fourth period, and play was predominantly occurring toward mid-field. Neither the Cavaliers nor the Golden Flashes were able to muster anything in the circle, so time ran out as Virginia held a 3-0 lead.
This was a particularly special victory, as the Cavaliers were celebrating Senior Day and honoring their seven departing seniors and graduate students. Families and former teammates joined McDonough, Geusgens, senior midfielder Adele Iacobucci, graduate student back Linsday Dickinson, senior midfielder Danielle Husar, and senior back Abbigail Starnes on the field for a postgame ceremony honoring all their significant contributions to the Virginia field hockey program.
Looking ahead, the Cavaliers are closing out the regular season on the road Wednesday at 5 p.m., as they travel to College Park, Md., to take on No. 2 Maryland. The match will be streamed on the B1G+ Network.