Virginia dominates Boston College

Senior night sets up inspiring performance

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Riding a three-game winning streak, the No. 16 Virginia women’s lacrosse team took on the sixth ranked team in the nation Thursday evening. The Cavaliers’ (8-6, 2-3 ACC) confidence translated to the field, as they jumped out to a 7-6 first half lead in the game, never trailing No. 6 Boston College (10-4, 2-4 ACC) to secure a 16-14 win.

Virginia’s seniors took the spotlight as the team honored all eight of its fourth-years in a pregame ceremony. Coach Julie Meyers gave six of her players a starting nod, which they thanked her with by leading Virginia to a much-needed upset.

Senior Maddy Keeshan scored four goals, while senior attacker Liza Blue added three goals and three assists.

“Our team did a great job,” Meyers said. “We really rallied behind our fourth years. They all had big performances.”

Virginia scored the first three goals of the game. In a true senior moment, senior captain Ashlee Warner, who scored just two goals in the past six games, started off the Virginia scoring just over four minutes into the game. Senior attacker Liza Blue followed Warner to extend her streak to 20 games with a goal when she netted her first of the day just over 30 seconds later.

After sophomore attacker Kelly Boyd and senior midfielder Maddy Keeshan traded goals with Boston College to take a 4-2 lead, the Cavaliers rattled off three consecutive goals by Boyd, junior attacker Courtney Swan and Keeshan, respectively, to take a 7-2 lead.

“It’s always great confidence for your attackers when your initial shots go in,” Meyers said. “I think we scored seven on our first 11 shots. That’s pretty good.”

Virginia was shaken after the seventh goal as the momentum shifted for the rest of the half. Boston College won four of the next five draw controls en route to scoring four straight goals in the final three minutes. Two of the Eagles goals came in a span of 30 seconds, with junior attacker Covie Stanwick cutting the Virginia lead to 7-6 with three seconds remaining in the first half.

Despite the late Boston College run, Virginia knew its offense would keep them in the game.

“I think we were just moving the ball pretty well, especially on the outside,” Keeshan said. “Our girls are really good taking one vs. ones and hitting in the middle when it’s open. Everyone was sharing the ball, and that helped us out in the end.”

The Eagles scored to start the second half, but the Cavaliers did not take long to respond. Swan netted her second of the day with 23:43 remaining as Virginia regained the lead, 8-7.

Virginia knew pulling away would not be easy, as the Eagles tied the game with 21:22 remaining, but the seniors would not be denied on their senior day. Blue scored with 19:41 remaining and Keeshan notched a hat-trick just 12 seconds later to give the Cavaliers a 10-8 lead.

The Eagles responded with a two-goal run of their own, but after a stop on defense, Swan scored two straight for the Cavaliers to take a 12-10 lead with 12:12 remaining. Again though, the Eagles were not going down without a fight. Two consecutive goals knotted the game at 12 with 10:12 to play.

Virginia took control from here. 11 seconds later, Blue scored her third of the game as Virginia again regained the lead. After a Virginia timeout, Keeshan scored almost immediately. Boyd and freshman midfielder Posey Valis capped off a 4-0 Virginia run with open-net goals. The Cavaliers survived two late Eagle goals to secure the win.

Just three weeks ago, the Cavaliers were sitting at two games under .500. Since, Virginia has been nearly unstoppable, picking up four straight wins, including two against ranked conference foes Notre Dame and Boston College.

“The girls have been working so hard,” Meyers said. “They’ve been putting extra time in, doing anything we’ve been asking them to do. To see hard work pay off is what every coach wants to have happen.”

Virginia outshot Boston College 29-27, but each team had 24 shots on goal. The Cavaliers lost the ground ball battle 17-14, but Virginia committed two less turnovers than the Eagles, and was also aided by some timely saves by senior goalkeeper Liz Colgan.

In addition to Keeshan’s four goals and Blue’s six points, Swan and Boyd also had big nights. Swan added four goals, two assists and six draw controls, while Boyd scored her second consecutive hat-trick.

But Virginia was not focused on the statistics in this game. They just wanted to send their seniors out with a win. The class that started with 11 members has dwindled down to eight, but this has just made the ties among the girls even stronger.

“We’ve kind of been a big, happy family,” Keeshan said. “It’s sad that we’re all leaving, but it’s definitely fun. Everyone is best friends. So it’s fun to come out and get a win on senior night.”

Virginia next faces Maryland on Sunday in College Park. Opening draw is slated for 1 p.m.


Published April 11, 2014 in Sports





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