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COLLEGE FIELD HOCKEY

Virginia field hockey team reaches ACC Championship Game with OT win over Wake Forest

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The Virginia field hockey team is heading back to the ACC Tournament championship game.

Taryn Tkachuk tied the game with 1:35 remaining in regulation, then Adele Iacobucci scored the game-winner 1:27 into overtime to lift the Cavaliers to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Wake Forest on Tuesday in the ACC semifinals at Jack Katz Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Third-seeded Virginia (13-6) will take on top-seeded North Carolina (16-0) in the ACC Tournament final on Friday at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on ACC Network. This will be the second-straight meeting of the two teams in the championship game.

“Big players have to make big plays in big games, and we did today,” Virginia coach Michele Madison said. “The team today showed amazing character and guts and belief, and execution to score three world-class goals.”

The game began as a battle of the midfield, with Daniela Mendez-Trendler taking the only shot of the first quarter.

Wake Forest broke the scoreless deadlock when Immie Gillgrass scored a goal off a penalty corner to take a 1-0 lead five minutes into the second period. The Demon Deacons (15-5) added a second goal five minutes into the second half when Rachel Thetford scored on a second-chance opportunity.

Virginia started its comeback 2:40 later when Meghen Hengerer smashed a long pass from outside the circle to Annie McDonough, who was positioned in front of the cage. The pass deflected off of McDonough’s stick into the net to cut the deficit in half.

With 4:09 remaining in the game, Virginia pulled the goalie to add an extra attacker. The Cavaliers went on the immediate attack, with a shot from McDonough being swiped away from the goal line by a Demon Deacon attacker. Thirty seconds later, Hengerer sent another long pass into the circle, this time finding Tkachuk, who lifted the ball into the upper corner of the net to tie the game with 1:35 remaining.

Virginia began the overtime period with possession. McDonough dribbled the ball into the circle and fired off a pass. Iacobucci slid on her knees to get to the ball, firing off her shot while on the ground but still finding the target to end the game 1:27 into the extra period.

“To win that game was just fantastic, period,” Madison said. “The defense held strong. It took us a while to get adjusted to how Wake was playing and attacking our press. In the second half, we were able to dominate and apply the pressure we needed to apply. It was a fantastic tournament game against a very good Wake team.”

Virginia held an 8-5 advantage in shots, while Wake Forest had a 3-2 edge in corners. Both goalkeepers made two saves.

Virginia will be looking to win its second ACC Tournament championship. The Cavaliers won their only ACC championship in 2016. That season, UVa was the No. 6 seed, becoming the lowest-ever seed to win the ACC Tournament.

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