No. 19 women’s lacrosse to face No. 17 Duke
Virginia hopes to get a statement win at home
Following a 9-6 victory over in-state rival James Madison Wednesday, the No.19 Virginia women’s lacrosse team will return to Klöckner Stadium to resume conference play against Duke Saturday at 1 p.m.
Last time the Cavaliers (5-4, 1-2 ACC) faced off against the Blue Devils (5-4, 0-3 ACC) in regular season play, they fell 11-8 after being unable to answer multiple scoring runs by Duke.
Recently, though, the Cavaliers seem to have found their groove. Facing the talented teams of Loyola, Notre Dame and James Madison, they have been able to show consistent improvement in their ability to put shots on goal and take advantage of their opponents’ mistakes.
Duke, on the other hand, is fresh off a frustrating 16-6 loss to No.11 Pennsylvania. The Blue Devils, who trailed by just two at the half, were unable to respond to the offensive onslaught of the Quakers while being able to score on a talented Quaker goalkeeper.
“At this point in the season, I think we have to evaluate what we’re doing,” Duke coach Kerstin Kimel said. “We have to do serious evaluation of what we’re running and if we need to make some changes schematically or personnel-wise to be more productive.”
Losing three of its past four matchups, Duke faces a vital conference matchup that has implications for the rest of their season.
The Cavaliers, still taking their season game-by-game after a rocky start, have improved dramatically thanks to strong offensive and defensive performances throughout the starting lineup.
Key players within this lineup include senior attacker Kelly Reese and sophomore midfielder Maggie Jackson — both of whom received ACC honors this past week. Receiving the recognition for the second time this season, Reese averages four goals per game and had an early 3-0 run in the first half against Notre Dame Monday. These goals proved instrumental in providing some much needed breathing room for the Cavaliers, as they went on to dominate 15-5.
Jackson received ACC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Between two games, she forced seven turnovers, recovered nine ground balls and seven draw controls.
“I think [turnovers] were a huge part of [the win over Notre Dame],” Virginia coach Julie Myers said. “The girls were all over the loose balls and [were] able to come up with those big ground balls from the defensive end, and then get some fast break opportunities where we scored.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s game against Duke, Virginia will work to continue improving the fundamentals of their game.
“We need to take care of the ball better and make better decisions in the transition game as well as in our offensive end,” Myers said. “We need to make sure that we’re taking quality shots but really that we have possession of the ball, and moving the ball and cutting sharper and faster”
Virginia’s important match against Duke will start at 1 p.m. Saturday.