This is Julie Myers’ 27th season as head coach for the Virginia Women’s Lacrosse Program. In all of her years leading the Cavaliers, her team has never missed an NCAA Championship. That record is in serious jeopardy this season, as UVA entered the ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship by 8-8. Only teams with a winning percentage of 0.500 or better are eligible for the NCAA Championship Big Show.
In a do-or-die game against seeded No. 3 Syracuse Orange, the Cavaliers were up to the task. Freshman Rachel Clark scored six goals to lead sixth-ranked Virginia to a surprise quarter-final victory over Syracuse on Friday night at Arlotta Arena in Notre Dame.
In the only regular season showdown between these two teams, the Cavaliers fell to the Orangers 17-11 on a snowy afternoon in Charlottesville on March 12. With the season on the line, Virginia avenged that loss with a clutch performance against Syracuse in the ACC quarter-finals.
Syracuse scored the first goal without the help of Olivia Adamson, but the Cavaliers responded with three consecutive goals, each with a scorer’s lead. Young player Morgan Schwab scored two goals and made the third goal in the opening period and finished with seven points with three goals and four assists for Virginia. Six different players scored in the first quarter for Syracuse, and Orange advanced 6-5 in the second quarter.
UVA opened the next period in another round 3-0. Freshman Rachel Clark scored four goals in the first half to help Virginia lead 9-8 in the first half. Clark, who is set in All ACC Team Two and ACC All-Freshman Team Earlier this week, he led Virginia with six goals from eight shots and added a assist as well.
Syracuse scored three of the first four goals in the second half to lead 11-10 thanks to a pair of goals by Megan Terrell, who led the orange with four goals and two assists.
Once again, Virginia refused to withdraw under pressure. The resilient Cavaliers responded with another run, scoring five goals in a row in a streak that lasted into the fourth quarter, yielding four goals. This time around, it was senior Ashlyn McGovern who led the race, scoring three of the five goals. McGovern, one of the first team selected by the ACC this season, finished with four goals and one assist.
Syracuse scored three goals in the fourth quarter, but never came close to three as UVA responded with a goal every time the orange hit the net. A Braeden Dial goal made it 18-14 a little over a minute ago and that’s all I wrote.
UVA had a slim advantage of 27-26 in shots and had shots on target even at 19 each. Syracuse controlled 23 drag controls compared to Virginia’s only 13, but the orange made 14 spins, six of which were caused by the Cavaliers. UVA goalkeeper Ashley Vernon saved five crucial saves to win the goalkeeper fight, with Syracuse scoring only one.
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The gravity of this victory cannot be underestimated. The Cavaliers are now 9-8 overall and guarantee a minimum of .500 season records, which would qualify them for a broad selection for the NCAA Championship. It’s also a win over the country’s No. 3 ranked team, which would go a long way toward giving UVA a championship-worthy resume.
Virginia advance to the ACC semi-finals, where the Cavaliers will face another rift against defending national champion and second-seeded Boston College Eagles, who defeated Virginia Tech 19-13 in the quarterfinals. UVA lost to Boston College 22-15 on February 23 in Charlottesville.
The ACC Quarterfinals match between Virginia and Boston College will take place on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium in Notre Dame.
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