CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Junior Alyssa Voelme and freshman Gianna Perrone each scored a goal and sophomore Sydney King recorded seven saves as the University of Louisville field hockey team battled host seventh-ranked Virginia to a 1-1 score at halftime, but could not overcome a two-goal deficit in the second half as the Cards fell 3-2 to the Cavaliers in their season opener.
“We were right there against one of the best teams in the country,” said U of L head coach Justine Sowry. “We started slowly by allowing Virginia to dictate the play but after the first goal we started to play some great hockey. We outletted the ball well and developed some nice patterns of play. We certainly had our opportunities to win, but we must execute on both sides of the ball in the critical moments of the game. “
The Cavaliers got on the scoreboard quickly when Riley Tata scored in the second minute of the game, but the Cards quickly responded when junior Alyssa Voelmle delivered a shot past Virginia goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone to knot the score at 1-1.
Louisville had several chances to score in the half when shots by junior Paige Monsen, sophomore Victoria Stratton and sophomore Katharine Gwynne-Wood were turned back by Johnstone. Cardinal goalkeeper sophomore Sydney King picked up three saves in the half.
The game remained tied at halftime with UVa holding a 7-5 edge in shots and a 3-2 advantage in penalty corners.
Virginia regained the lead six minutes into the second half when Elly Buckley capitalized on a penalty corner assist from Carissa Vittese to make the score 2-1. Caleigh Foust added an unassisted goal to increase the lead to 3-1 at the 46:29 mark in the game.
Louisville answered three minutes later when freshman Gianna Perrone notched her first career goal with a shot from the left side of the circle to pull the Cards within one.
The teams traded shots in the final 13 minutes of the game with King picking up three saves and Voelmle and Stratton registering penalty corner shots, but the Cavaliers held on to the 3-2 lead.
Virginia outshot Louisville 9-4 in the second half and 16-9 in the game and held a 5-4 overall edge in corners – the teams had two apiece in the second half.
“Overall, despite not getting the outcome we wanted, we are satisfied with our progress,” said Sowry. “We must now come back on Sunday and build on what we have started.”
The Cardinals will travel to Richmond for a 1 p.m. matchup on Sunday.