At 1 p.m. on the University Hall Turf Field, the UVa field hockey team defeated the No. 16 Old Dominion Lady Monarchs on Sunday, 5-2. The first half ended with the Cavaliers holding a 2-1 lead in goals, a 3-1 lead in shots and a 5-2 lead in penalty corners.
Entering the second half, Virginia’s No. 9 Michelle Vittese took a reverse chip shot on the upper left side of the goal, only to see it tipped out of bounds. ODU stepped up by scoring a goal off of a penalty corner and tied up the game with 28 minutes left. After knotting the score, the Monarchs continued to penetrate UVa’s circle. Assistant Coach, Inako Puzo said: “Old Dominion is very strong and has good skills. It was too easy for them to come up with a lot of corners and situations, which we should be able to handle a lot better.”
Sophomore Brittany Knouse said: “We need to work on building the ball up and not just slamming it up the field because then we have numbers down.” Puzo agreed: “We made the mistake of trying to break two or three lines of attack. You’re not going to break the second line. We made that mistake and we lost a lot of potential because of that.”
Playing a very defensive second half, the Monarchs earned many corners and many shots. Senior goalie Kim Kastuk stood strong and took the pressure well, however, saving all the shots after the game was tied. Puzo said: “Later the players realized that the way to go was with short passes and 2 v. 1’s. Not going 150 mph. Just one step at a time and just make it happen for 100 yards. And that’s how we got goals. We went back to the game plan and finished strong.”
Indeed, after refocusing Virginia earned a penalty corner with 15 minutes left. Vittese took a strong shot which was tipped in by sophomore Tara Puffenberger. Only 5 minutes later, junior Paige Selenski earned a hat trick off of a reverse chip shot. Five minutes later Selenski scored again, earning her fourth goal of the game to set a new career high.
When reflecting on the ups and downs of the game, senior Boyd Vicars said: “When we’re not playing well, we need to bring everyone in and stop and make it work.” Virginia did exactly that and came out stronger down the stretch to finish with the 5-2 victory.
No. 3 Virginia is now 3-0 in the regular season. The Cavaliers will play again on Monday, Sept. 6 against Northwestern at 1 p.m. on the UVa turf. The Hoos’ first ACC conference game will be played on Friday, Sept. 24 at Boston College.