Boterman leads No. 7 UVA field hockey to 2-1 win over No. 16 Liberty

When you’re playing the toughest schedule in all of college field hockey, you won’t have much time to dwell on losses.

Such was the case for the UVA field hockey team, which had to shake off a 1-0 loss to No. 12 Wake Forest on Friday as the Cavaliers traveled to Lynchburg for an in-state duel with the No. 16 Liberty. The Flames struck first, but Virginia bounced back and, behind a goal and an assist from Noa Boterman, the No. 7 Virginia beat the No. 16 Liberty 2-1 on Tuesday night in Lynchburg.

The Flames struck first as they converted their first and only penalty corner of the game. Jodie Conolly made a big swing from the top of the penalty corner circle and her shot made its way cleanly to the back of the cage to give Liberty the lead late in the first quarter. Liberty would put four more shots on goal in the game, but UVA goaltender Jet Trimborn saved each of those attempts to lead another solid effort by one of the best defensive units in the nation.

Virginia was shut out for the first time this season in Friday’s loss to Wake Forest, then failed to score again in the first quarter of Tuesday’s game against Liberty. Eventually, minutes into the second quarter, the Cavaliers got on the board as they showed great patience to convert on a penalty corner opportunity. Going into this game, Liberty had yet to award a penalty corner all season. Virginia executed a brilliantly crafted play when Noa Boterman received the crossover pass but moved it to Cato Geusgens, who then sent it back to Boterman on an out and back. Boterman stepped in a shot and found the back right corner of the cage to level the game at 1-1.

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Virginia beat Liberty 9-3 in the first half, including 6-2 in the second quarter, but three second-period saves by Liberty Azul goalie Iritxity Irigoyen tied the game at 1-1 at halftime.

UVA continued to have penalty corner opportunities, leading Liberty 11-1 in that category, and eventually the Cavaliers cashed in another one of them. With just over four minutes left in regulation, Virginia centered a pass for Boterman, who fired a high shot that was redirected into the cage by Adele Iacobucci to put the Hoos ahead.

Trimborn and the UVA defense held firm for the remaining minutes and got back on track with a 2-1 victory over a ranked opponent on the road.

Now 10-4 on the season, the Cavaliers continue their tough schedule by facing their toughest test yet as Virginia travels to Chapel Hill on Friday to face No. 1 and undefeated North Carolina.

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