The No. 7 Virginia field hockey team lost for the first time this season at home, dropping a 2-1 decision to No. 2 Princeton on Senior Day.
The game between the two top-ten ranked schools was originally scheduled to be played on Monday, Oct. 29, but due to travel safety concerns surroundingthis week’s upcoming storm, the two teams decided on Saturday night to play the game a day early.
Princeton dominated the first half of the game, taking nine shots before UVa got off its first, an attempt by Paige Selenski with 30 seconds left in the half. The Tigers scored an early goal, with Allison Evans winning a scrum in front of the net just over five minutes into the contest. Despite almost non-stop pressure in the half, the Cavalier defense kept Princeton from adding a second goal.
After the break, the Cavaliers managed to ignite their attack. Selenski added to her ACC-leading goal total eight minutes into the second half. Selenski, who was facing lock-down defense the whole game, managed to get a ball on the left wing with just enough separation to be able to dribble down field and attack the goal, scoring the equalizer.
The two teams played a balanced second half, with Princeton getting off eight shots to Virginia’s seven. The Tigers, who had six penalty corners in the first half, had only two in the second half, but made the most of the opportunity, scoring a goal off a conventional insertion and shot from the top of the circle with 18 minutes left in the game.
The Cavaliers played a frantic final three minutes, ramping up their energy and attempting to get the ball deep into the offensive zone to create a scoring opportunity, but the Tigers held on for the 2-1 victory.
“In the first half, we were playing a little tentative and a little defensive,” said head coach Michele Madison. “I told them, ‘If you want to beat somebody, you have to attack. We could lose the game, 0-2, but we don’t learn anything from that game. You have to attack to learn something’.”
Selenski scored her 25th goal of the year. It was the 98th of her career, leaving her three shy of tying the Virginia career goals-scored record as she heads into postseason play.
Goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone had another strong game in net, making nine saves. Katie Robinson, for the second game in a row, had multiple blocked shots.
The Cavaliers end the regular season with a record of 15-4 (4-1 ACC) and a mark of 9-1 at Turf Field. They head into the ACC Tournament as the No. 2 seed, earning a bye into the semifinals for the first time since 1998. They will host the winner of Duke/Maryland on Friday, Nov. 2 at 3:30 p.m. in Chapel Hill.