Freshman Minout Mink’s goal in the 10th minute of overtime lifted the seventh-ranked University of Louisville field hockey team to a 3-2 win over host ninth-ranked Virginia in both teams’ ACC finale on Friday evening. Louisville (14-3, 3-3 ACC) extends its win streak to four games. Virginia drops to 11-6 (3-3).
Mink scored a pair of goals in the game, breaking a 1-1 tie in the first half and then putting the Cards ahead for good in overtime as she pushed her team-best total to 14 goals on the season. Sophomore goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran posted a career-high 12 saves in the win.
“This was a great win for our program against a very good Virginia team,” said UofL head coach Justine Sowry. “It was not a perfect performance by any means, but we kept persisting. The team is constantly reminding each other to bring the game back to our identity by defending and attacking together. When we do this we know we can do very well. We now need to take care of ourselves and focus our attention to our next opponent.”
The teams played through nine scoreless minutes before Virginia broke through with the first goal of the game. Colleen Norair’s shot was saved by McFerran, but Izzy McDonough sent the rebound into the cage giving the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.
The Cardinals answered 10 minutes later on a penalty corner of their own. Mink delivered the initial shot which was turned back by Carrera Lucas, but senior Shannon Sloss was there to collect the rebound as the ball trickled to the right side of the cage and connected on her fifth goal of the season to tie the score at 1-1.
The Cavaliers had a flurry of scoring opportunities, earning three penalty corners in a span of two minutes, but McFerran picked up six stops to keep the score even.
Louisville intensified its attack and it over the next eight minutes before Nicole Woods gathered a pass from senior Lotta Kahlert just outside the circle and dished to Mink who fired a shot past Lucas to put the Cards up 2-1 with 8:40 remaining in the first half.
The Cardinals continued to hold possession on their attacking end of the field through most of the rest of the half and took the 2-1 lead into the break after UVA held an 11-8 advantage in shots and a 4-2 edge in corners.
The teams continued to battle through the first 21 minutes of the second half until UVA drew its second corner of the period. Riley Tata’s initial shot hit the post, but she connected on the rebound to even the score at 2-2.
UVA drew a penalty corner with six seconds left in regulation. It appeared that Nikki Freeman’s shot found the back of the cage, but was disallowed after it was ruled that the ball hit the leg of a Cavalier player.
With the score knotted at 2-2, the teams entered a 15-minute 7v7 overtime period. The Cavaliers fired off three early shots with two sailed wide and McFerran stopping the other. Senior Lizzie Gittens sent a pass to fellow senior Erin McCrudden who received the ball near the 50 yard line and found Mink near the top of the circle. The freshman angled past a defender and sent a reverse stick shot into the far post to seal the win for the Cardinals.
In the game, Virginia outshot Louisville 22-12 and held a 7-4 advantage in corners. McFerran (13-3) posted a career-high 12 saves while Lucas (11-6) had six stops in the contest. With her assist on the game-winner, McCrudden increases her season tally to a nation-leading 17. She needs two more to tie the school’s regular season record.
With the victory, Louisville improves to 14-3 and 3-3 in ACC play. The Cardinals move into a three-way tie for fourth in league standings along with Virginia (11-6, 3-3) and Boston College (3-3). Duke currently stands in first place with a 4-1 record, but still has to play North Carolina which holds a 3-2 mark in conference play. Syracuse finished the regular season with a 4-2 ACC record and currently stands second.
The Cardinals return to action on Sunday when the travel to No. 17 James Madison.
Assistant Sports Information Director