Field Hockey: Cavaliers Hold On To Edge Blue Devils

Virginia field hockeyThird-seeded Virginia became the final team to punch its ticket to the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference Field Hockey Championship semifinals, fending off sixth-seeded Duke for a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.

Virginia (16-3) will face No. 2 seed and host Boston College (12-6) in Friday’s 3:30 p.m. semifinal. The Eagles were the last team to defeat the Cavaliers during the regular season, by a 1-0 score at Charlottesville on Oct. 4. Virginia has since reeled off eight consecutive wins, and Boston College has won eight of its last nine games.

Thursday match, played in a steady rain, wrapped up the tournament’s quarterfinal round. In addition to the match between the Cavaliers and Boston College, Friday’s semifinals will feature a 1 p.m. match between top-seeded North Carolina (17-0) and fifth-seeded Louisville (15-4).

All four teams competing in Friday’s semifinal round are ranked among the nation’s top nine in the latest NFHCA poll with defending champion UNC at No. 1, Virginia at No. 4, Louisville at No. 6, and Boston College at No. 9. Duke – despite its No. 6 seeding in the ACC Championship – entered Friday night’s game ranked fifth in the nation.

Rachel Robinson’s penalty stroke goal with 5:04 remaining in the first quarter put the Cavaliers up 1-0, and Virginia keeper Lauren Hausheer turned back two Duke shots on goal to ensure the lead held up until the halftime break.

Freshman Cato Geusgens pushed the margin to 2-0 at the 6:25 mark of the third quarter, hammering a deep shot straight home following crisp passes by Annie McDonough and Anzel Viljoen. The goal was Geusgen’s eighth of the year.

The Blue Devils countered less than three minutes later with their first goal of the evening. Working off a penalty corner, senior Haley Schleicher tallied her sixth goal of the season off passes from Lily Posternak and Margaux Paolino to bring Duke with 2-1.

But additional good fortune wasn’t meant to be for the Blue Devils, whose five ACC losses during the regular season came by a total of six goals, including a 3-2 decision to Virginia in overtime.

Duke scrapped for two penalty corner situations in the final 2:24 of Thursday night’s match, but Hausheer made two more saves for the Cavaliers, and three other Blue Devil shot attempts were blocked. Hausheer finished with six saves in goal for the winners.

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