After hitting ‘Rock Bottom,’ UVA field hockey ready to make a run in NCAA Tournament

UVA field hockey loses to Princeton.
UVA field hockey loses to Princeton.(WVIR (custom credit))
Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 7:53 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia field hockey team is in the NCAA Tournament for the 25th time in program history.

Making the Big Dance is always the goal for the ‘Hoos, but just three weeks ago, it didn’t look like it was going to happen.

The Cavaliers lost three games in a row, culminating in a 2-1 defeat at Old Dominion, and their record dropped to 7-6 overall.

Head coach Michele Madison says, “We definitely hit bottom, especially after the (second) Old Dominion loss, and it was like, ‘Whoa, that was the first nail in the coffin, we have to do something.’”

What head coach Michele Madison did, was turn to the players.

“I asked the team, ‘Is there any more the coaches can do for you?’” says Madison. “I asked the captains, and they said, ‘Absolutely not, it has to come from us.’ So I pulled out the old trick that they have to run the practice, they have to design the practice, and they did that.”

Senior back Makayla Gallen says, “We had to lead the next practice that week, and got our way, to make our own path, because at the end of the day, we’re the ones on the field. From that point on, we’ve just been, ‘If we all want this, then we can make it happen, and we’re the only ones who can make it happen.”

The Cavaliers have lost eight games this year, but all of them have been by one goal, including four in overtime.

UVA won three of its last four games during the regular season, and they advanced to the ACC Tournament Championship match.

The ‘Hoos are hoping the lessons learned during the regular season will pay dividends in the postseason.

“I think we’re just a stronger team,” says senior back Rachel Robinson. It’s unfortunate that we had to hit rock bottom to realize that, but I think at the end of the day it prepared us for the situation we were in for the ACC’s, and now in the NCAA’s.”

UVA and Maryland will square off on Friday at 2:30 PM in College Park, Maryland.

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