The No. 5 Virginia field hockey team suffered its first loss of the season to a non-conference opponent as William & Mary pulled a 2-1 upset Sunday at Turf Field.
Virginia fell to 14-3 with the loss. It was the first time this season the Cavaliers lost to a non-conference opponent and was also the first lost this year for UVa to an unranked team.
"Credit to William and Mary, they really pressured us and were really strong in the circle in denying our scoring opportunities," Virginia head coach Michele Madison said. "We were there, it's a matter of getting better pressure on the goalie and more people getting involved in the attack."
William & Mary took one shot in the first half, with Pippin Saunders scoring a goal off that shot 7:49 into the contest. William & Mary added to the 1-0 lead with a second goal with 8:56 remaining in the game.
Junior Kelsey LeBlanc tipped in a pass from senior Carissa Vittese after a penalty corner 1:45 later to pull the Cavaliers back to within one. With 2:12 remaining in the game, the Cavaliers got another penalty corner and appeared to score the game-tying goal on the play, but the goal was whistled off by the referee because the ball did not travel out of the circle on the insertion before the shot was taken.
“The play at the end was unfortunate, but that wasn’t why we lost the game,” said head coach Michele Madison. “If we had played with that urgency the whole game, I think the result would have been different. We need to be a little more hungry on our attack opportunities and a little bit smarter with how we play the ball in the attacking circle.”
Virginia outshot William & Mary, 18-5, including an 11-1 first-half differential. Virginia had 12 penalty corners, with the squad’s lone goal coming off one of those opportunities. The Tribe had one short corner, scoring their second goal off of it.
LeBlanc’s goal was her second in as many games. She also scored the game-winner on Friday night in Virginia’s 2-1 double-overtime victory over Boston College. Vittese’s assist was her fifth of the season.
Junior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone made two saves. William & Mary’s goalkeeper and Albemarle alum Cate Johnson logged eight saves for her fifth win.
"It was a hard-fought win, a hard-fought game, they're a great opponent," Johnson said. "Luckily we were able to pull it out at the end. We couldn't be happier, we're very, very excited."
The game marked a Charlottesville return for not only Johnson, but Tribe freshman forward Olivia Hajek, a Western Albemarle grad, as well.
"That was nice," Hajek said of the local crowd support. "It's always great to have people out to support you"
"All the people here supporting us, it's great to see them," Johnson added. "One of my favorite things about Charlottesville is the people and it was great to have them out to support us."
The Cavaliers have one home game remaining on the schedule as they host No. 7 Duke on Friday.