Cavaliers down Navy, 15-13

Women's lacrosse improves to 9-4 with win over Midshipmen

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The Virginia women’s lacrosse team held off a second half charge by Navy to secure its sixth straight win with a 15-13 victory in Charlottesville over the Midshipmen on Wednesday night.

“[There were] a lot of momentum changes in the game,” senior attacker Liza Blue said. “We weren’t quite happy with our overall performance, but we’re glad to get the win.“

A Navy turnover in the opening possession allowed the Cavaliers to get on the board first. Senior midfielder Courtney Swan picked up the groundball and brought it down the field, where the Cavaliers were fouled, allowing sophomore attacker Kelly Reese to score unassisted on the free position shot.

Navy turned the ball over again in the next possession, but the shot by senior attacker Liza Blue was blocked before a Virginia save on Navy’s counter led to another unassisted goal for the Cavaliers.

Navy rebounded a save by Virginia freshman goalie Rachel Vander Kolk to score its first goal of the game at the 22:41 mark, but Virginia added two more unassisted goals on free position shots before Navy called a timeout to talk things over. After the timeout, Navy scored two straight to pull within one before Virginia outscored the Midshipmen 6-2 to close out the half.

In total, the Cavaliers had eight unassisted goals in the first half, four of them coming off free position shots.

“I think out shooters have been shooting really well,” head coach Julie Myers said. “We’re shooting it at 55-60%, so I wouldn’t say that any of those shots were because of luck. Our opportunities, the lines to goal that we took really help us set us up for success, so it wasn’t by luck but more by design.”

The two teams started the second half trading goals twice before Navy went on a 5-1 run to pull within one with 7:13 remaining in the game for the first time since the start of the game.

“I think Navy did a nice job on their groundballs and second and third opportunities especially when they were down playing attack,” Myers said. “I think our goalkeeper and defenders needed to jump on those loose balls a little better than they did, but Navy just sniffed an opportunity and challenged our defense to make stops.”

With the score at 13-12, senior attacker Casey Bocklet and Blue scored back-to-back goals to stop Navy’s run. Navy won the ensuing draw control but a quick shot by Navy soon after landed in the hands of freshman goalie Rachel Vander Kolk to allow the Cavaliers to hold possession for the next three minutes and drain the clock down to 1:24. The Midshipmen were able to score off a Virginia turnover with 1:04 remaining, but it would be their last goal of the game.

“A month ago, we don’t know if we could’ve pulled this win out, but now we’re playing with composure and getting big stops on defense and hitting those shots, which is great,” Swan said.

In the game, Navy out shot Virginia 33-27, but the Midshipmen could not convert on their chances. The two teams were equal in draw controls with both teams winning a total of 15. The Cavaliers only attempted one free-position shot in the second half after attempting five in the first half to finish 4-6.

“I think we just had to play together, which we started doing at the end,” Bocklet said. “We were hitting our shots, which was huge and riding hard and getting the ball back and luckily we got the win.”

Swan led the Cavaliers with six points on four goals and two assists. She also picked up three ground balls. Blue finished with four goals, while reigning ACC Player of the Week Bocklet recorded three goals on three shots, an assist, three groundballs. Bocklet also caused two turnovers, including one in which she intercepted a Navy pass and eventually scored off the pick in the first half.

“I’m just in the right spot at the right time, finishing my shots,” Bocklet said.

Senior defender Morgan Stephens also won a career-high nine draws for the Cavaliers.

Freshman midfielder Julia Collins led Navy with four goals, while Virginia held the nation’s points leader, senior attacker Loren Generi, to just two goals on seven shots.

The Cavaliers continue their regular season-ending four-game home stretch on Saturday when it faces No. 17 Notre Dame.

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