COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The third-ranked Virginia field hockey team (18-4) concluded its season with a 4-3 overtime loss to second-ranked North Carolina Friday in the NCAA semifinals. Junior Paige Selenski notched her fourth career hat trick in the loss. It was the second straight year Virginia ends the year with a loss to the Tar Heels in the national semifinals.
UNC's Meghan Dawson scored the game-winner 4:19 into overtime to send the defending national champions into the title game Sunday.
The Tar Heels (22-2) outshot Virginia 12-5 for the contest and had a 10-2 advantage on penalty corners. Virginia's two corners came in the first half.
"I couldn't be more proud of the efforts of my entire team," Madison said. "Everyone is so disappointed because we give our heart and soul each and every day in practice. They believe in each other, and to lose like that causes a lot of pain. We always tell our players there is a lot more pain in losing than in working hard, and that's what we are feeling right now."
Virginia led 2-0 after goals from Selenski in the 19th and 27th minutes. The first goal came on UVa's first corner of the game. Senior Haley Carpenter (Virginia Beach, Va.) injected to classmate Taylor Swezey (Ambler, Pa.). Swezey dished the ball over to Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.), who blasted the ball past UNC keeper Jackie Kintzer for a 1-0 Virginia lead.
Selenski's second goal was a reverse stick shot from the top left of the corner on an assist from freshman Elly Buckley (Perth, Australia).
UNC then cut the lead in half on a penalty corner just before the halftime. Elizabeth Drazdowski scored on a deflection in front of the cage; that goal came in the 34th minute. The Cavaliers held on to a 2-1 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Tar Heels tied the game on a penalty stroke by freshman Marta Malmberg.
Then in the 52nd minute, North Carolina took its first lead of the game on a Caitlin Van Sickle score following a penalty corner.
But Selenski notched the equalizer 43 seconds later, smashing another ball into the back of the cage. Carpenter was credited with the assist on the goal.
The final 16 minutes went scoreless, sending the game into overtime.
UVa senior goalkeeper Kim Kastuk (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) finished with three saves while Kintzer recorded two.
"They changed how they attacked," Madison said of North Carolina. "They were able to isolate and get possession. They are really dangerous inside the circle, and I think both teams are dangerous. Both teams played a great game and they came out on top."