Women’s lacrosse hosts Louisville in Sunday matinee

No. 6 Cavaliers stay 'hungry' after streak-ending loss, take on Cardinals for first time

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Senior attacker Daniela Eppler scored twice in the loss to Notre Dame. She has started every game for Virginia this season, and has 10 goals and four assists to her name. 

Zoe Toone | Cavalier Daily

After an uncharacteristic 14-4 loss Saturday to Notre Dame snapped its six-game winning streak, the Virginia women’s lacrosse team looks to bounce back Sunday by staying “hungry” against Louisville in the Cavaliers’ third straight home game.

“We kind of talked about it in the locker room that this game doesn’t really define our season and our team,” senior attacker Daniela Eppler said after the loss. “It’s just another day, and we’ve been doing what we need to be doing so far, so it’s just a kind of game where we learn from it and move on and have to come out hungry the next weekend [for] the next big game.”

Eppler was one of the bright spots for the No. 8 Cavaliers (9-5, 3-3 ACC) against No. 12 Notre Dame, scoring two of the her team’s four goals.

During their six-game winning streak, the Cavaliers averaged 15.2 goals per game, while scoring 13 and 15 goals, respectively, against two of the conference’s top-three teams in Duke and Boston College. But against Notre Dame, Virginia failed to score until the 17:57 mark of the second half. The Irish outshot the Cavaliers 32-22 while maintaining possession for most of the game after winning 13 of 20 draw controls.

“Notre Dame played much better than the other teams that we have played during that stretch,” coach Julie Myers said. “They were very deliberate on their attack. They took the air out of the ball, and they did a nice job on the draw control in particular in the second half.”

After allowing 14 Irish goals and 13 Irish draw controls, the Cavaliers will not have an easier opponent in No. 18 Louisville (9-4, 1-3 ACC), which ranks 11th in the nation in goals per game at 14.23 and first in the ACC in draw controls with 16.38 per game.

Louisville is also third in the ACC in ground-ball pickups, which has been an issue for the Cavaliers all season. Virginia is last in the league in ground-ball pickups and Saturday picked up five fewer ground balls than the Irish.

Last weekend’s matchup between Notre Dame and Virginia was only the second ever between the two teams. Notre Dame is competing in its second year in the ACC.

Similarly, the Cavaliers have never played Louisville, which is competing in the ACC for the first time this year after a historic 2014 season in which the Cardinals won the Big East Tournament and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

The Cardinals started the 2015 campaign with five straight wins before hitting ACC play, where they have only won one game after facing off against Boston College, Duke, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

With a 1-3 conference record, the Cardinals certainly resemble the Notre Dame team that came to Charlottesville last weekend, but after their loss, the Cavaliers are aware of the possibility of an upset when opponents are hungrier than they are.

“Notre Dame was truly in desperation mode,” Myers said. “They hadn’t had an ACC win and were looking at maybe a .500 record if they were to lose a game. It was kind of a reversal from last year when we were really desperate and knocked them off at home in a very similar fashion, so I think desperation can really help you out in sports if you can kind of reign it in and play it to your advantage.”

Leading the Cardinals this year are senior attacker Faye Brust and junior midfielder Kaylin Morissette, two of seven returning starters for Louisville. Brust averages 3.46 goals per game, tops in the ACC and seventh in the nation, while Morissette leads the league in draw controls per game. Morissette was also named one of 50 players on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List for the best lacrosse player in the nation.

“We need to be hungry,” Myers said. “We need to make sure we’re going forward and we’re the most aggressive team and we’re the hungriest no matter who we’re playing against and no matter what our record is.”

First draw is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at Klöckner Stadium.

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