CharlottesvilleThe Virginia field hockey team shut down one of the most prolific offenses in the nation with a 3-0 defeat of California tonight (Oct. 4) at the University Hall Turf Field. The Cavaliers (6-5) used a ten-save performance by Devon Burnley to keep the Bears off the boards while at the other end of the pitch Kaitlyn Hiltz scored the game-winner and then assisted on the third goal to lead the Cavaliers in scoring. The three goals was the most surrendered by Cal in 2007, who ranked seventh in the nation in scoring defense coming into the contest, allowing less than a goal per game.
The Bears drew eight short corners in the first half, including five in the opening twenty minutes of the contest, but the corner defense did not allow a goal as Burnley made six saves to keep California off the scoreboard. After the fifth corner, the Cavaliers worked the ball up the left side of the pitch as Lauren Elstein passed the ball up to Kelsey Vonier, who led Taylor Swezey up the sideline. Swezey found Traci Ragukas in the middle; Ragukas brought the ball into the circle where the Cal defense knocked it loose, but right to Hiltz, who buried the ball in the far corner for the opening goal of the contest at 21:42. The Bears drew three more short corners in the period but could not convert and trailed at halftime despite leading the Cavaliers in shots (8-3) and short corners (8-1).
In the second half the Cavaliers surged forward, attacking up the right side of the pitch as Ragukas stole the ball and led Laura Nelson with a pass to the upper right corner. Nelson returned the ball to Ragukas, who entered the circle. Cal cleared the ball to the 25 where Haley Carpenter collected the loose ball and led Ragukas with a pass above the 25. Ragukas dished the ball to Bounds, who sent the ball to the strokemark where Jamie Mulhare slammed the ball into the boards for a 2-0 lead at 37:12. The goal was Mulhare’s first collegiate tally.
The teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the second half as both teams had flurries of activity in both circles. Cal’s Kelly Knoche, who came on in relief of Liz Braasch at the start of the second half, made seven saves in the second half while Burnley turned away four Bears shots.
With time winding down in the second half, an entry into the circle off a hit by Inge Kaars Sijpesteijn was tipped up dangerously by a Cal defender, drawing a short corner. On the play, the option to Hiltz was tipped into the cage by Sara Confer at 70:00 for the final score of 3-0. The Bears, who had come into the game averaging 3.23 goals game, which ranked seventh in the nation, were shutout for the first time since their opener against Indiana.
Virginia returns to action on Saturday (Oct. 6) as the Cavaliers travel to Louisville where they will face Rutgers in a neutral-site game before playing the host Cardinals on Sunday.
Linescore 1 2 F (records)
California 0 0 0 (7-2)
Virginia 1 2 3 (6-5)
21:42 VA fg Hiltz 1-0
37:12 VA fg Mulhare (Bounds) 2-0
70:00 VA pc Confer (Hiltz) 3-0
Keepers: VA: Burnley (70 mins, 10 saves, 90 GA)
Cal: Braasch (35 mins, 1 save, 1 GA); Knoche (35 mins, 7 saves, 2 GA)
Shots: VA 13, Cal 13
Short corners: VA 7, Cal 12