CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia field hockey team opens the 2009 campaign at 3 p.m. Friday against Miami (Ohio) at the University Hall Turf Field. The Cavaliers are back in action at 1 p.m. Sunday against No. 11 Penn State. Live stats for both games will be available on VirginiaSports.com.
Virginia returns 13 letterwinners, including eight starters, from a team that went 14-9 last season and made their third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Both leading scorers return for UVa in sophomore Paige Selenski (19 goals) and senior Traci Ragukas (16 goals). Four returnees were also selected to the NFHCA All-South Region teams, including Selenski (first team), Ragukas (second team), Michelle Vittese (second team) and Floor Vogels (second team).
Miami returns six starters and nine letterwinners from a team that went 14-7 and 7-3 in the Mid-American Conference last season. The team's 14 wins represent the most victories since 14 wins in 1983. Junior Christine Brightwell is the team's returning leading scorer with nine goals, while senior Katie Brightwell contributed eight scores and senior Maggie Marcum six. Junior forward Kate Snyder and sophomore midfielder Amanda Seeley trained with the Midwest High Performance Team over the summer.
In the all-time series, Virginia is 4-0 against Miami. The two teams last met in 2004 when the Cavaliers defeated the RedHawks 3-2 in overtime at the U-Hall Turf Field.
No. 11 Penn State, meanwhile, claimed the 2008 Big Ten Championship a year ago and finished the year with a 13-7 mark before being defeated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions return 18 letterwinners, including six starters, from that squad. Among those returning for PSU are Big Ten Freshman of the Year Jessica Longstreth and second team all-midwest regional selections Brooke Hoffsmith and Bethany Marvel.
Penn State will play at No. 16 Old Dominion Friday before traveling to Charlottesville to face the Cavaliers.
Virginia is 3-13 all-time against Penn State. The two teams met last season in State College, with the Nittany Lions escaping with a 1-0 victory. UVa last defeated Penn State in the quarterfinals of the 1997 NCAA Tournament, 4-2.