No. 5 UVa Field Hockey Fall to No. 2 UNC in Overtime

The No. 5 Virginia field hockey team fell in overtime, 3-2, at No. 2 North Carolina, snapping an eight-game win streak.

North Carolina struck first, taking three quick shots on goal five minutes into the game. Cavalier goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone saved the first, the second was blocked, but the Heels scored on the third attempt.

Michelle Vittese evened the score just under 22 minutes into the game. Vittese took a pass after a penalty corner, dribbled toward the goal, and took a shot that flew past the Tar Heels’ goalkeeper.

Both teams played an evenly-match remainder of the first half, going into the break knotted 1-1.

At the start of the second half, the Cavaliers dominated the offensive possessions. Virginia took a 2-1 lead eight minutes into the second period. Paige Selenski passed the ball to Hadley Bell on the right sideline. Bell, rather than dribble into the circle, fired off a laser pass to Rachel Sumfest who was positioned right at the corner of the goal. Sumfest knocked in the ball before any of the defenders could react.

Zealous defense by both teams kept the score intact with neither team able to create a good scoring opportunity for the next fifteen minutes.

With eight minutes left in the game, North Carolina pulled its goalie, giving the Tar Heels a man advantage. UNC aggressively attacked the Virginia zone, its efforts paying off under five minutes left in the game. The Heels drew a whistle, setting up a penalty corner. Their leading scorer, Charlotte Craddock, got a rebound after a save on the initial shot and slid it past Johnstone to tie the game, 2-2.

With less than a minute left in the game, North Carolina had the best chance in the remaining five minutes, getting a breakaway and numbers advantage. Katie Robinson made a tackle just outside the circle, stopping the threat. The final few seconds ticked off the clock, sending the game to overtime.

The Tar Heels began with possession in the overtime period and controlled the ball much of the extra period. UNC drew a foul five minutes into extra time and were awarded a penalty corner. After the insertion, the Heels’ Kelsey Kolojejchick took a shot. Johnstone made the save, but couldn’t hold onto the ball. The Heels’ Caitlin Van Sickle got the rebound in front of the goal and poked it past Johnstone to score the game winner.

“This was exactly the type of game we expected,” said Cavalier head coach Michele Madison. “It was end line to end line with chances for both teams. It was a matter of capitalizing on mistakes. They were able to capitalize on the last corner of overtime and won the game.”

Johnstone ended the game with a season-high 11 saves, with seven of those coming in the first half. Elly Buckley got her third defensive save of the year.

“Our team defense was phenomenal,” said Madison. “The team defense did its job. It was a matter of us needing to be better on our attack.”

Vittese scored her ninth goal of the year while Sumfest added her 11th. Britt Knouse, who had been sidelined all season recovering from knee surgery, made her first appearance of the season.

With the loss, the Cavaliers fall to 13-3 on the season with all three losses coming against top-25-ranked teams. They are now 2-1 in the ACC. North Carolina improves to 15-1 and 4-0 in the ACC. It was the first overtime loss of the season for Virginia who is now 2-1 in overtime contests.

The Cavaliers are back home next weekend, hosting Wake Forest on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. at Turf Field. Admission is free for all 2012 regular season home games at Turf Field.

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