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Julianna Tornetta scored the winning goal in the NCAA Final Four against Virginia. Photo Credit: Jack Graham / The Daily Princetonian

No. 9 Princeton field hockey (16–4, 7–0 Ivy) has advanced to the National Championship game after upsetting No. 4 Virginia (18–5, 4–2 ACC) in the Final Four on Friday night in Winston Salem, North Carolina. 

Princeton had won their past three matches against UVA; all three of those victories also came in NCAA tournament games. The Tigers are now 6–0 all time versus the Cavaliers in the postseason.

Virginia struck first in this meeting though, as Rachel Robinson converted a corner in the eighth minute. Senior goalie Grace Baylis saved two more shots in the first quarter to keep the Tigers in striking distance.

With under three minutes left to play in the first half, sophomore midfielder Hannah Davey possessed the ball and completed a perfect pass ahead to sophomore striker Ali McCarthy. Stationed in the circle, McCarthy connected with the ball and blasted in a shot to tie the score, 1–1.

There was plenty of action to start the second half, with Baylis making another stellar save. After a failed corner attempt by junior midfielder MaryKate Neff halfway through the third stanza, junior midfielder Julianna Tornetta took a shot on goal that was saved, but she gathered her own rebound and knocked it in. At the end of the period, Princeton led 2–1. 

In the fourth, Princeton couldn’t add to their lead, even following a corner after a 10-minute yellow card was assessed to Virginia. In desperation, UVA pulled their goalie with 2:53 to play, but Princeton held on to upset the nation’s fourth-ranked squad.

“I thought it was a battle of a game," said head coach Carla Tagliente in a statement to GoPrincetonTigers.com. "I think when you get to this level and the Final Four, it's very small margins each way and each team is coming out on pure emotion and I think it took a little while for us to settle into the game. I give UVA credit; I think defensively were outstanding. I don't think we handled them quite well early on ... but I think we adjusted and played great in the second half and did well enough to take this one."

Next up, Princeton will face No. 1 North Carolina for the national championship. The undefeated Tar Heels are seeking a second consecutive national title, while the Tigers are making their first trip back to the title game since winning it all in 2012. The game will be streamed live on NCAA.com on Sunday at 1pm. 

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