No. 7 Virginia Holds Off Saint Joseph's

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM Michelle Vittese scored two of the Cavaliers' six goals
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Michelle Vittese scored two of the Cavaliers' six goals
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

Sept. 30, 2012

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 7 Virginia field hockey team won its sixth straight game, defeating Saint Joseph's, 6-3, Sunday afternoon (Sept. 30) at Turf Field.

Early in the game, the Cavaliers (11-2), who are averaging over six goals per game in home contests this season, made it seem like it was going to be another high-scoring game, scoring the first goal against Saint Joseph's (2-9) on the first shot of the game, taken by Elly Buckley (Jr., Scarborough Perth, Australia) off a penalty corner at the three minute mark. Michelle Vittese (R-Sr., Cherry Hill, N.J.) added another Cavalier score 14 minutes into the game, finding a loose ball after another penalty corner and smashing it into the net to put Virginia up 2-0.

Saint Joseph's struck back, scoring on a penalty corner of its own ten minutes later. The two teams had barely reset after the goal and the Hawks' Nicole Gerdes scored another goal, tying the game, 2-2.

The Hawks played with a renewed energy after tying the game with the Cavaliers managing to hang on and head into the halftime break tied at two.

After halftime, the Cavaliers offense came back with Paige Selenski (R-Sr., Shavertown, Pa.) scoring a pair of goals. With both goals, Selenski dribbled around multiple defenders, crossing into the center of the circle. In scoring her first goal six minutes into the second half, she fired off a strong, quick shot as she was moving through the circle. With her second goal, ten minutes into the second half, Selenski again dribbled past defenders, racing into the circle. The second time, however, she paused, took an extra dribble to set herself, and then fired past the goalkeeper who wasn't expecting the pause and completely mistimed her dive.

"We just knew we had to come out strong in the second half," said Selenski. "Saint Joseph's came out here and they wanted to win. We knew we had to come out really strong and just put a lot of pressure on them, that we were able to do and put some goals on the board."

Vittese added another goal at the 54-minute mark, dribbling past defenders and powering a shot past the goalkeeper. Buckley also scored a second goal coming into the circle and smashing a loose ball after a penalty corner attempt into the cage, giving the Cavaliers a 6-2 lead with 14 minutes remaining in the game.

The Hawks drew a foul call with under 30 seconds left in the game, earning a penalty corner which they took after time expired. An initial shot was not successful, but Saint Joseph's came up with the rebound and managed to score to make it a 6-3 final.

"We were able to get our short game going again in the second half and put more pressure on Saint Joes so they weren't allowed to throw the ball to where they wanted it to go," said head coach Michele Madison of her team's second-half resurgence. "We were able to generate some momentum on attack."

The Cavaliers outshot the Hawks, 30-7, with the Cavaliers holding a 17-2 advantage in the second half. Saint Joseph's goalkeeper recorded eight second-half saves and 12 overall in the game. Freshman Rebecca Holden (Fishing Creek, N.J.) played the entire game in goal for the Cavaliers, making two saves and allowing three goals.

Vittese had her second straight two-goal game. She now has seven goals this season. Selenski, ranked in the top-three in the nation in points and goal scoring, added two goals and an assist. She now has 18 goals this season with 10 assists for 46 points. Buckley, also among the nation's leaders in scoring, added a pair of goals. She has 13 goals this season with four assists for 30 points.

The Cavaliers will play at home again next weekend, hosting Yale on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 12 p.m. and No. 15 New Hampshire on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. Admission is free for all 2012 regular-season home games played at Turf Field.