Women’s lacrosse prepares for Virginia Tech

No. 5 Cavaliers to recognize seven seniors before opening draw Friday

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With the ACC tournament set for next week and the NCAA tournament following in early May, the No. 5 Virginia women’s lacrosse team still has plenty of games to play. But the Cavaliers will first have to get through in-state rival Virginia Tech — which is seeking its first ACC win of the season — in both teams’ regular season finale Friday night.

Although Virginia (10-5, 3-3 ACC) will host the ACC tournament next week, seven Virginia players will be honored before the game Friday in the team’s annual senior day ceremony.

“We’re excited to have our senior day on Friday night, although it’s really sad to think about our seniors being finished with their last regular season home game,” coach Julie Myers said. “We’re going to need to make sure we take care of our details, and our kids are going to have to be focused to be able to come out with the win.”

Virginia is coming off a 17-9 win against Louisville last weekend, its seventh victory in eight games, with its only loss in that span coming April 4 against Notre Dame.

“I think it was huge for us,” senior attacker Casey Bocklet said after the Louisville win. “We’ve worked really hard all week, and we were looking to come in this game with a lot of energy and play well, and that’s what we did.”

Bocklet was one of eight Virginia players to score in the game. She contributed seven points on four goals and three assists and was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season.

Bocklet, who transferred to Virginia after playing one season at Northwestern, is having a successful career year offensively and defensively. She is shooting 50 percent, putting 79.7 percent of her shots on goal and has caused eight turnovers this year, all career highs.

Rounding out the senior class for the Cavaliers are defenders Kelsey Gahan and Morgan Stephens, midfielders Daniela Eppler, Caroline Seats and Courtney Swan and attacker Liza Blue.

Swan had her best season statistically last year but continues to contribute to the team as co-captain alongside Gahan. Swan is also second on the team in points behind Bocklet.

“Honestly, I have not really thought about this being our last regular season home game,” Swan said. “We still have so much more lacrosse to play and we could hopefully play six more games on Klöckner, not including Friday's game. It is crazy to think we are nearing the end, but we still have so much more lacrosse to play.”

Stephens changed positions last season, moving from the midfield to the back line. She has taken a step back on the offensive side from previous years but won a career-high nine draw controls in game against Navy earlier this year.

After switching from defender to midfielder last season, Eppler provided 10 goals for the Cavaliers in 2014, and she has continued to score this year with a career-high 11 goals and five assists on the season thus far.

Seats, a 2013 Georgetown transfer, has appeared in only two games this season but was able to score when she came off the bench against Richmond in February.

Blue, like Swan, had her best season statistically in 2014 but currently has the most assists in her career with 12 during her fifth year at the University.

“Our fourth years have been so awesome,” Myers said. “Obviously they’re having a great year for us this year, but they’ve had a great four years for us … They’re such a huge part of our success, but mostly I will always be grateful for what they’ve taught their teammates. They always encourage their teammates. Everybody feels that they can talk to a fourth year, which I think is an integral part in being a leader and an approachable leader.”

Virginia Tech (6-9, 0-6 ACC) is also led by seniors, specifically attackers Meg Bartley and Megan Will. Will leads the team in scoring and assists, while Bartley has set the all-time record in draw controls at Virginia Tech. She has secured 70 on the season thus far.

The Hokies are coming off a close 13-11 loss to Boston College on their senior day last Sunday.

Virginia’s senior day festivities are scheduled to start before the opening draw at 6 p.m.

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