The No. 7 Virginia field hockey team’s season came to a close with a 4-3 overtime loss to Massachusetts in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Congratulations to UMass and I wish them the best of luck in the tournament,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison. “It was a hard-fought game by both teams. Obviously, I am very disappointed right now. We had plenty of chances in the game that we didn’t capitalize on. That is what is going to linger is the missed opportunities. I also hate that our seniors will end their careers with this as their last game.”
Virginia ends the year with a 15-6 record.
The Cavaliers held a 3-2 lead when UMass was awarded a penalty corner with just under two minutes to play in the second half. Junior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone saved the initial shot with junior Kelsey LeBlanc getting a defensive save on a secondary attempt. The Cavaliers cleared the ball out of the circle, but UMass stole the ball back, attacking the goal again and scoring with 1:08 remaining to tie the game, 3-3.
Virginia had several opportunities in overtime including back-to-back hard shots from seniors Elly Buckley and Hadley Bell, but UMass’ goalkeeper Sam Carlino stopped both attempts.
Right before the game-winner, UMass had dribbled the ball into the circle, with Charlotte Verelst taking a shot that was blocked by a Cavalier defender. Verelst picked up the loose ball and rifled a shot into the upper right corner of the net to score 10:52 into the overtime period.
This was Virginia’s 19th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the seventh in the last eight seasons. It was the ninth time the Cavaliers bowed out in the first round.
Johnstone ended the game with seven saves. Caleigh Foust finishes the season with 12 goals, ranking her second on the team. Riley Tata scored her 11th goal of the season, ranking her third. Lucy Hyams, the ACC Freshman of the Year, finished her rookie campaign with 11 assists and five goals, ranking fourth on the squad with 21 points.
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