The Maryland field hockey team relied on goalkeeper Sarah Bates throughout Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Virginia, the No. 3 Terps’ third straight win against a top-10 opponent.

The No. 8 Cavaliers outshot coach Missy Meharg’s squad, 19-6, but the redshirt junior buoyed the backline with a career-high eight saves in the victory.

Bates’ previous best was six saves against Michigan on Sept. 30 — her first major action of the season. Since then, she has established herself with five starts and has posted a Big Ten-best .795 save percentage this season.

Her performance in the cage highlighted the Terps’ defensive efforts against Virginia.

“I’ve worked really hard in the offseason,” Bates said. “It’s good to see that hard work pays off.”

Maryland surrendered the most shots of the season to the Cavaliers, so Bates was active from the start.

With about 20 minutes remaining in the first half, Virginia had an open opportunity from the top of the circle, but Bates steered it aside with a pad save.

“I felt like my balance was really on point today which helped with taking the amount of shots which they took from the top of the circle,” Bates said.

Virginia managed to capitalize on a miscommunication between Bates and defender Carrie Hanks. The two Terps collided as they scrambled to make a clear on one of Virginia’s seven penalty corners, leaving forward Riley Tata a yard out to finish the loose ball for the Cavaliers’ only goal.

In the final stretch of the match, last-ditch attempts from Virginia put extra pressure on Bates and Maryland’s defense. With about 15 minutes remaining, Bates denied Tata a chance for a second score with a high glove save. Hanks forced another attempt from Tata to go wide.

Soon after, Bates dove to her right, reaching the ball with the edge of her glove, to keep out Virginia’s sixth penalty corner.

Forward Linnea Gonzales also contributed to the Terps’ defensive stand while protecting their 2-1 lead. She shadowed Virginia’s leading scorer, Tara Vittese, throughout the second half.

“The whole last 20 minutes I put [Gonzales] right on [Vittese],” Meharg said. “They’re very much a program that likes their superstars to play the ball most of the time. I thought [Gonzales] was phenomenal defensively on [Vittese], and, of course, held on to the ball with the stall.”

Gonzales limited Vittese, her U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team teammate, to one shot in the second half after Vittese logged four in the first half. Meharg’s tactics were similar to how she used defender Courtney Deena on then-No. 1 Connecticut’s Charlotte Veitner, the forward who leads the nation in scoring, during the Terps’ win Sunday.

It again proved effective for the Terps to earn another top-10 win.

“We just have a really confident backfield, and there are a couple of people that can rotate in there,” forward Emma Rissinger said. “We all know as forwards and mids that our defense is going to be really strong and stop the ball, so we can rely on them.”