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After losing three straight matches against ranked opponents, each by a one-goal margin, the No. 16 UVA field hockey team was in need of a bounce-back performance at home against William & Mary.

The Cavaliers wasted no time in doing just that, scoring two goals in the first six minutes of the match and defeating the Tribe 5-1 on Wednesday afternoon at the UVA Turf Field.

Virginia was facing William & Mary for the second time this season. The Hoos defeated the Tribe 5-0 in Williamsburg on September 3rd.

Just over four minutes into the first quarter, UVA drew first blood on a goal by senior midfielder Greer Gill. Adele Iacobucci passed it to Gill, who finished for her first goal of the season.

One minute and 11 seconds later, the Cavaliers were on the board again, as senior back Amber Ezechiels recorded her team-leading sixth goal of the season. On a penalty corner, Greer Gill and Rachel Robinson set the shot up for Ezechiels, who knocked it in to make it 2-0.

Sophomore striker Esha Shah scored her first career goal as a Cavalier with a little over five minutes remaining in the first half to make it a 3-0 lead for UVA.

Virginia thoroughly outplayed William & Mary throughout the match, as the Cavaliers outshot the Tribe 17-6 and shots on goal were 10-2 in favor of UVA.

However, one of William & Mary’s two shots on goal found its mark, as Cara Menges converted a penalty corner to get the Tribe on the board just before halftime.

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Virginia maintained the tempo in the second half and the Cavaliers responded with a quick goal just over three minutes into the third quarter. Greer Gill got her second assist of the day, passing to Annie McDonough who shot and scored to make it 4-1.

A couple of minutes into the fourth quarter, McDonough scored again to put the nail in the coffin. Amber Ezechiels made an extra pass inside off of a penalty corner and McDonough tipped it in to make it 5-1. That was McDonough’s fourth goal of the season, tied for second-most on the team.

After playing a stretch of eight-consecutive matches against ranked opponents and turning in a 3-5 record over that period, the Hoos performed well in a much-needed tune-up game.

With the win, Virginia improves to 8-6 overall with three matches left in the regular season. Up next, the Hoos face a quick turnaround as they travel to New York to play No. 6 Syracuse in their final road match of the regular season. 

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