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Field Hockey Recovers from Tough Road Swing

Three road games to start the season, two against ranked opponents. It's nice to come home.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavalier Field Hockey team didn't exactly start its season in the easiest of ways ( ::cough:: NCSU football ::cough:: ). A three game road swing that includes matches with two ranked opponents isn't exactly a good way to ease your team into the season. But given that 10 of the squads 19 matches this season are against ranked opponents, "easing into things" probably wasn't high on coach Michele Madison's agenda.

Virginia started off the road trip last Friday with a quick trip down I-64 to Williamsburg to take on William & Mary - the lone unranked opponent in the first three. The Tribe (are they still the Tribe? I thought they un-Indian-ified themselves?) found itself on the losing end of a serious mismatch.

Six different players scored for the Cavaliers, including three with multiple goals. Virginia led 4-0 at the half and 9-0 when the final whistle sounded. William & Mary managed just a single shot the entire game, and that came in the first minute of the second half.

The game was such a snoozer that the official scorekeeper apparently had some fun with the box score. The weather at game time is listed as "The sky is as blue as Delft china." So, there's that.

The second match of the road swing, against #8 Penn State on Sunday, would not be as easy. While the shots were equal - Virginia had 3 in the first half, 8 in the second; the Nittany Lions had 8 in the first half, 3 in the second - the goals were not. Penn State found the back of the cage twice in the first half and added a third for insurance in the second half. The Cavaliers were unable to get past senior GK Kylie Licata, who racked up six saves.

In the conclusion of the traveling gauntlet, the Wahoos traveled to Iowa to face off against the #20 Hawkeyes. Interestingly, even though Iowa is only #20, they're one of 6 teams receiving a first-place vote in this week's NFHCA Coaches Poll. The others are Maryland (#1), North Carolina (#2), Connecticut (#3), Duke (#4) and Syracuse (#5). I'm at a bit of a loss to understand how Iowa fits in there. But that's a pre-season poll and it really doesn't matter much.

A close match the whole way, The Cavaliers could not find a way to pull of the win as the Hawkeyes won 4-3.

But then it was time to come home. And home is always better.

First came Princeton, the #7 team in the land. And away they went with a loss. Virginia sent the Tigers home after a 6-4 match that, aside from a few minutes in the second half, was never that close. The Cavaliers stormed out to a 4-0 lead on Caleigh Foust's goal in the second minute of the second half. Princeton would try to rally, scoring three goals over the next 18 minutes. Freshman Tara Vittese's first goal of the year in the 57th minute ensured the victory for Virginia (so...how any Vittese's are there and how do we convince Mark and Patricia to keep sending us more of them?).

Then it was time for a nice comfortable shut out win, wouldn't you agree? And that's exactly what we got when Miami of Ohio visited. Do you think people in Miami (OH) get annoyed at always having to say "of Ohio" when they say where they're from? Anyways, senior Jess Orrett scored her first goal of the season in the 17th minute and the Cavaliers never looked back. Riley Tata (47th minute) and Lucy Hyams (54th minute) rounded out the scoring.

Up next is for the Cavaliers is the start of ACC play with Louisville coming to town on Friday. The Cardinals are currently ranked #15 in the country.