Now 12 games into the season, the Virginia women's lacrosse team is off to a fresh start.
Before Saturday's win over Duke, the Cavs were 0-4 against top-10 teams and were left feeling that something was missing in their season. Defeats in big games had led to a loss of confidence and raised questions about why they could not get it done against the best.
"The most frustrating part about it was knowing that you're as good as, if not better than, the team you're playing and still coming up just a little short," senior defender Ashley Widger said.
According to Widger, the Cavaliers' problem against top-notch teams was not a lack of effort, making the four losses even harder to swallow.
"We have been working so hard," Widger said. "When you're not repaid with a win, it's just an emotional weight."
That weight was lifted in a big way when the Cavs defeated the then-No. 3 Blue Devils, 10-8, who dropped to fourth in the polls after the loss.
Now that they have finally defeated a top-10 team, the No. 7 Cavaliers (8-4) look to use their newfound confidence in the remaining portion of the schedule.
"I think the emotion is going to stay high," Widger said. "Everyone's heads are back in it, their confidence is back in it and the skills are there."
The first part of the rest of the season takes place in Blacksburg today, as the Cavs roll into an encounter with Virginia Tech. Having lost four of the last six games, the struggling Hokies (4-5) provide Virginia with a good opportunity to build on its success against Duke.
But Myers insisted the Cavaliers must perform at the same level against Tech as they did Saturday.
"It's going to be very important that we take care of business on Wednesday," Myers said. "[It's important that] we play a good game, not just a game that we get through."
The key to defeating the Hokies is stopping Dawn Will. The senior has scored 34 goals this year, while no other Hokie has more than 15. By comparison, the Cavaliers have four players with more than 15 goals.
"I think relying on one player attack-wise" is Tech's biggest weakness, Myers said. "If we make the other six [Tech] attackers play with the ball and get the shots off, we should be fine."
Virginia will employ several different defensive combinations as part of its effort to shut down Will, including one which places one defender man-to-man on Will, while the other six defenders play zone.
And if the Cavs' pressure defense can prevent Will from shooting, she is unlikely to create many scoring chances for her teammates. Will has only two assists all season.
"We will really try to limit her touches and try to take her out of the game," Myers said.
Myers said the Cavaliers are refreshed from their win over Duke and will be looking to keep their momentum alive.
The Cavs "are going to be emotionally charged and believing in themselves all over again," she said. I "feel like it's the beginning of a whole new season"