DURHAM, N.C. - The No. 10 nationally ranked University of Massachusetts field hockey program advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament with a 4-3 victory in overtime versus No. 7 Virginia on Saturday afternoon. Charlotte Verelst scored the game-winning goal unassisted with four minutes, six seconds to play in the first overtime.
Lindsay Bowman, Hannah Prince and Renee Suter contributed one tally apiece as the Minutewomen rallied from a trio of one-goal deficits to earn the victory. Prince added an assist for a three-point performance while Izzie Delario recorded two helpers and Alexa Sikalis provided her 20th assist of the season. Sam Carlino finished with five saves in goal.
The win at Duke University's Jack Katz Stadium in Durham, N.C., was the 19th of the year for the Minutewomen, tied for the second-most in one season by a UMass squad with the 1979, 1993 and 2000 squads. The 1992 team finished 21-2-0 overall en route to an NCAA Final Four appearance.
"We knew if we came out and played we could earn a win," head coach Carla Tagliente said. "Going down by one quickly before tying it up and then going down by a goal again, I never felt like this team quit. They gutted it out and the win is a testament to this squad. Everyone bought into the dream we have. It is a testament to the leadership we have throughout every class and how they believe in this team."
Verelst used back-to-back shots in the 81st minute to end the game. The freshman from Braine l'Alleud, Belgium, dribbled into the circle and fired an attempt into the legs of a Virginia defender. After the ball kicked back to Verelst, she gathered the loose play and sent a shot high into the back-left corner to earn the game-winner, her second of the year.
The Cavaliers nearly ended the game in overtime on two occasions only to have Carlino deny their attempts at the goalmouth. With its first try, Elly Buckley drove a shot from the left side toward the center of the cage; however, Carlino sprawled out to her right to stop the attempt in front at the 77:00 mark. Only 42 second later, Carlino used her blocker pad to knock down Hadley Bell's strike after Bell found herself unguarded in the circle - Virginia's last shot of the game.
The game was sent to overtime by Suter, who recorded her sixth goal of the season with only 68 seconds remaining in regulation. After Virginia tallied its third goal of the day with 8:34 to play in the game the squads battled back and forth until Suter found the back of the cage. Following a penalty corner, Delario pushed a pass through the Virginia defense across the cage to Suter at the right post, with Suter redirecting the ball behind Virginia goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone.
Caleigh Foust scored her 11th goal of the year on a pass from Elly Buckley to give the Cavaliers the early 1-0 lead. Buckley dribbled into the circle and sent a bouncing pass to Foust, with Foust able to redirect it into the top-left corner of the cage with 16 minutes, 22 seconds left in the first half.
The Minutewomen (19-5 overall) evened the game at 1-1 with 3:06 remaining in the opening stanza. Drawing its second penalty corner of the contest, UMass used an insert from Delario and stop by Sikalis to set up Prince with the shot. The senior from Gorham, Maine, flicked an attempt into the left side of the cage to earn the game-tying goal.
Following halftime, Virginia (15-6) used another penalty corner to record its second goal of the game. Foust found the back of the cage from the right post with a soft shot across the goal into the left side under a diving Carlino.
UMass responded to knot the game at 2-2 after Virginia's Macy Peebles was issued a green card at the 30:58 mark of play. The Minutewomen drew a penalty corner, with Prince sending a pass to Bowman at the right post. Bowman redirected the play by Johnstone at 31:54 to make it 2-2.
Massachusetts outshot Virginia, 16-13 with more on-target tries, 13-8. Penalty corners also favored the Minutewomen, 7-3. Johnstone finished with seven saves for the Cavaliers while Buckley and Kelsey LeBlanc added a defensive save each.