Field Hockey: No. 6 Hoos rally to knock off No. 5 Penn State, 2-1

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

The No. 6 Virginia field hockey team opened the 2023 season with a 2-1 victory against No. 5 Penn State on Friday at Turf Field.

Grad student Laura Janssen and freshman Minnie Pollock accounted for the Cavaliers’ goals.


Virginia (1-0) dominated the first quarter, taking three shots on goal while holding the Nittany Lions to zero shots. But it was Penn State who struck first with Natalie Freeman scoring four minutes before halftime after picking up a rebound off of her own previously saved shot and finding the back of the cage.

Penn State (0-1) took its 1-0 lead into the break, but Virginia came out firing early in the second half.  Pollock fell to her knees firing off a pass that Janssen smashed in to tie the game 1:29 into the second half. Janssen and Pollock also worked together on the game-winner, this time with Janssen setting up Pollock’s score 3:28 into the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers outshot Penn State 8-1 in the final period.

Junior Tyler Kennedy, who was making her first start since Sept. 16 of last season, made six saves. Junior Noa Boterman had two defensive saves. Penn State’s Brie Barraco made eight saves.


  • Virginia held an 18-14 edge in shots
  • Penn State held a 6-3 edge in penalty corners
  • Freshman Mia Abello was in the starting lineup in her collegiate debut
  • In addition to Pollock and Abello, Emma Watchilla also made her collegiate debut
  • Grad student Megan Connors made her Cavalier debut as a substitute in the second half


“I think we had a little first game jitters but once we found our way out of that, we were able to connect some good passes. We started really strong in the first half, and we were able to sustain the tempo of the game, which is really important moving forward, especially for Tuesday. There are definitely some things we have to work on of course, but that’s we are able to see against a good opponent like Penn State.”


Virginia closes out the homestand by hosting No. 14 Liberty on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Turf Field.