Transfer Bocklet Brings Instant Impact to Virginia
Nets hat trick in Cavaliers debut
|Casey Bocklet, who transferred to
Virginia after winning the national title with Northwestern last
season, scored three goals and had one assist in the Cavaliers'
10-9 season-opening win over Loyola.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
BALTIMORE — Casey Bocklet got her Virginia career off to a great start in the Cavaliers' 10-9 victory over Loyola on Saturday afternoon at Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex.
The sophomore attacker, who transferred to Virginia from Northwestern after winning the 2012 championship with the Wildcats, led the Cavaliers with three goals and an assist. She prevailed against a tough Loyola defense, overcoming a faceguard from Greyhound freshman defender Maddy Lesher, who had three ground balls and two caused turnovers.
"They were definitely pressuring a lot. But last year at Northwestern, that was the defense, and I was going against it every single day [in practice]. Personally I don't mind it. I think it's more exciting because it gives us the opportunity to work the ball more," Bocklet said. "In order to break them down, you have to stay composed and stay confident and have each other's backs, and we definitely did that."
Bocklet's slick crease moves and expert feeding helped jolt a tentative Virginia attack in the second half. Early in the game, the Cavaliers offense came in fits and starts. They tied the game three times but never pulled ahead, and the Greyhounds led 5-4 at halftime. With Loyola freshman goalie Molly Wolf hot in her first career game — she finished with 11 saves — the Cavaliers needed to quicken the pace if they wanted to win their season opener.
"We were playing fine but we were playing flat," Virginia coach Julie Myers said. "We were playing a little bit slower than how we like to play. So we said, 'Let's get back to practice pace again.'"
Bocklet got the second half off to a hot start. She scored off an Ashlee Warner pass just 36 seconds into the period to tie the game at 5, and then gave Virginia its first lead of the day on an unassisted tally at 27:52. The Cavaliers never trailed again.
"She brings a lot of skill and a lot of game sense out of Northwestern, and we knew it would be important," Loyola coach Jen Adams said of Bocklet.
For Bocklet, the transition from Evanston to Charlottesville has been an easy one. As a Wildcat, she was primarily a feeder. As a Cavalier, she both dodges and passes. As a righty, Bocklet developed good chemistry with the left-handed Warner, who had two goals and two assists. Bocklet was surprised to draw a faceguard in her first game for Virginia; Myers was not.
"She handles it [a faceguard] pretty well. We'll throw it at her in practice and in a couple of scrimmages," Myers said.
Sophomore midfielder Courtney Swan (1g, 1a) also had a big day for the Cavaliers, leading them to a 14-7 draw advantage and getting six draw controls on her own.
"Typically they like to push it forwards," Swan said, "so I was trying to equal that pressure, and a lot of [the draws were] popping right up to me so I could just grab it and the girls on the circle were doing a great job of getting the ones that they pushed successfully. It was a real team group effort on that."
Bocklet contributed a single draw control, but her best spot on the field is still the crease, not the draw circle.
"She's so good on the crease, she can use the lines on the field to get free, and her teammates are a bonus," Myers said.
Virginia has two more road games (Feb. 20 at Richmond and Feb. 24 at Syracuse) before it returns to Charlottesville, Va., for a March 1 matchup against Maryland. But Bocklet feels at home with the Cavaliers already.
"It's actually been pretty easy, because my teammates and my coaches are just so supportive and everyone was so welcoming," she said. "It felt so natural."