Nov. 5, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 4 Virginia field hockey team (15-4, 3-3 ACC) will take on No. 8 Duke (13-5, 3-3 ACC) on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. in the opening game of the 2013 ACC Tournament, being held at Boston College in Newton, Mass.
The Cavaliers and Blue Devils finished the regular season in a three-way tie for third place in the ACC, matching North Carolina with a 3-3 conference mark. The Tar Heels earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament by virtue of the goals-allowed tiebreaker. Duke was slated as the No. 4 seed with Virginia tabbed as No. 5.
The winner of Thursday's contest will advance to play No. 1 Maryland on Friday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. The championship will be decided on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m.
The opening-round games of the tournament will be streamed live on ESPN3. The semifinals and the finals will be streamed on ESPN3 as well as being broadcast on the ACC's Regional Sports Networks, which include Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, FOX Sports South/FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Florida, FOX Sports Midwest Plus/FOX Sports Indiana Plus, MSG Plus, NESN, ROOT Sports Pittsburgh, FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports San Diego, FOX Sports Prime Ticket, FOX Sports Arizona and ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain.
Virginia is looking for its first-ever ACC title. Virginia has advanced to the championship game six times, last playing for the title in 2009 when they fell 3-2 in overtime to Maryland in Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers, coming off a bye week, remained steady in both the Penn Monto/ NFHCA poll, where they are ranked fourth, and the latest NCAA RPI rankings, in which they are third. The ACC owns the top four positions in both rankings, with Maryland, Syracuse and North Carolina rounding out the top four in the poll and Duke replacing UNC in the RPI top-four.
Virginia leads the all-time series against Duke, 32-16, including a 4-3 victory over the Blue Devils on Oct. 18 in Charlottesville. Senior forward Elly Buckley (Scarborough, Perth, Australia) scored three of Virginia's four goals and subsequently earned her second ACC Player of the Week honor for her efforts.
The opening game of the NCAA Tournament against Duke will be the Cavaliers' 11th game this season against an opponent ranked in the top-20 and the eighth time facing a top-10 team. It will also be the third time this season Virginia has faced a team ranked eighth with the Cavaliers defeating then-No. 8 Old Dominion, 5-3, back on Sept. 8 and with Duke holding the same No. 8-ranking in the previous meeting this season.
Buckley leads the ACC in shots (129), shots per game (6.79), points (47), points per game (2.47), goals (20), goals per game (1.05) and defensive saves (5). She has 10 more points and five more goals than Jill Witmer of Maryland, who is second in both categories. Buckley has taken almost twice as many shots as North Carolina's Nina Notman who is in second place with 68 shots. Buckley ranks fourth in the NCAA in points per game and seventh in goals per game.
First-year midfielder Lucy Hyams (Whitstable, Kent, England) has 10 assists this season, ranking her fifth in the conference. Hyams is the only freshman currently ranked in the top-10 in the ACC in assists.
Freshman Riley Tata (Virginia Beach, Va.) is just outside the conference top-10 in goals with 10. Hyams and Tata are tied for second on the team with 20 points apiece. Freshman Caleigh Foust (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) is third on the Cavaliers with nine goals this season.
Junior Kelsey LeBlanc (Jr., Haverford, Pa.) has finished the season strong, scoring three of her five goals in the last five games.
Senior Katie Robinson (Sr., Mount Joy, Pa.), who has been the anchor of the Cavalier defense all season, scored her first goal of the season at Maryland, tapping in a second-chance shot after a penalty corner. She became the 11th different Cavalier player this season to score a goal.
Senior Chloe Pendlebury (Perth, Australia) is tied for ninth in the conference with eight assists this season. Pendlebury, who has primarily played defense her entire career, has taken a career-high 13 shots this season, but is still looking for her first career goal.
The NCAA Selection Show will be streamed live online on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on NCAA.com. The Cavaliers, who hosted first and second round games last season, advancing to the quarterfinals, will be looking for their 19th NCAA Tournament invitation.