After opening the 2023 season 1-1 at home with an upset win against No. 5 Penn State and a loss to No. 14 Liberty, No. 6 Virginia field hockey traveled to Philadelphia, Pa., for their first road trip of the season. The Cavaliers (3-1, 0-0 ACC) pulled out a 2-1 victory Friday night at No. 11 St. Joseph’s to kick off the trip and then finished strong with a 6-0 sweep at Temple Sunday afternoon.
Game 1 – Virginia 2, St. Joseph’s 1
The Cavaliers wasted no time in making their presence known in Philadelphia. A mere seven minutes into their first matchup of the weekend, junior midfield Noa Boterman scored off a penalty corner to put the No. 11 Saint Joseph (2-1, 0-0 A-10) in a 1-0 hole. This was the first goal allowed by the Hawks this season, but certainly not the last.
From here, the Cavaliers and Hawks entered into a defensive stalemate, as neither team allowed a shot for the remainder of the first quarter. This continued for over six minutes into the second quarter when the Hawks earned their first penalty corner of the matchup. Despite being limited to just two players and the goalkeeper, the Virginia defense proved superior and shut down any Hawk ambitions of scoring off that corner.
The Cavaliers took two additional shots by sophomore midfielders Caroline Nemec and Daniela Mendez-Trendler but still went into the half up 1-0 with a 5-2 shot lead.
Virginia kicked off the second half just as they began the game by scoring off a penalty corner roughly seven minutes into play. This time, it was freshman back Mia Abello firing off the first goal of her collegiate career.
The match remained relatively quiet, with the Cavaliers defending their 2-0 lead, until 6:44 left in the game when the Hawks decided to pull their goalkeeper and add another offensive player.
With five minutes left in the game, the Hawks scored off a penalty corner to get the score to 2-1. However, the Cavalier defense once again showed out and squashed any momentum the Hawks tried to generate.
“They put us under a lot of pressure,” Coach Michele Madison said. “I like how our team handled the pressure especially when they were a man up and pretty much going for everything. We were able to stay composed and get the win.”
That 2-1 win over St. Joseph’s, accompanied by an 8-6 lead in shots, sent the Cavaliers into their Sunday matchup against Temple with momentum certainly on their side.
Game 2 – Virginia 6, Temple 0
The Cavaliers took the field for a second time this weekend Sunday afternoon, this time against the Temple (2-2, 0-0 BIG EAST). This game was slated to be a special one for Madison, who began her coaching career with four seasons at the helm of Temple.
In quite dissimilar fashion to the start of Friday’s game against St. Joseph’s, Sunday’s matchup got off to a slow start. The first quarter saw shots taken by two Cavaliers, freshman striker Minnie Pollock and junior back Jans Croon, and one penalty corner handled by Mendez-Trendler.
The second quarter saw action ramp up, as junior striker Taryn Tkachuk notched her first goal of the season about halfway through the quarter. Mendez-Trendler took one additional penalty corner, but the relatively uneventful first half ended with the Cavaliers up 1-0 with a 3-0 shot advantage.
However, whatever offensive slump the Cavaliers had found themselves in in the first half was quickly shaken off come the start of the third quarter. Not even a minute into play, Mendez-Trendler rocketed one into the back of the net to put the Cavaliers up 2-0. Yet clearly, Mendez-Trendler wasn’t satisfied with just one, as seven minutes later she scored her second goal of the afternoon to give Virginia a 3-0 lead.
The Cavaliers just kept piling it on from there. Abello snuck in a goal off a penalty corner taken by Mendez-Trendler to round out the third quarter. Then, just 41 seconds into the fourth quarter, senior striker Esha Shah found the back of the net for the first time this season to get the Cavaliers up 5-0. And finally, with just 15 seconds remaining, Pollock added one more goal for good measure.
The Cavaliers dominated the Owls 6-0, with a definitive 13-0 lead in shots. This game was yet another example of Virginia field hockey working as a complete team, as eight different players contributed goals and assists to this shutout victory.
Virginia looks ahead to one more game on the road, Friday at William & Mary, before returning home to take on Harvard Sunday at noon.