Women’s lacrosse heads into ACC Tournament as the No. 4 seed

Virginia takes on No. 5 seed Notre Dame in the first round

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Junior attacker Avery Shoemaker was recently named to the All-ACC first team.

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

After a 16-12 loss to Virginia Tech in the final game of the regular season, the Virginia women’s lacrosse team fell to the No. 4 seed in the ACC tournament beginning Thursday. The Cavaliers (9-8, 4-3 ACC) will play the No. 5 seed Notre Dame (9-8, 3-4 ACC).

Virginia defeated Notre Dame 17-10 earlier this season but cannot take the victory for granted. In that game, Notre Dame was called for 43 fouls compared to Virginia’s 19. This included giving eight free position shots to the Cavaliers and three yellow cards. 

Notre Dame will come out much more disciplined in the tournament and will not give Virginia free possessions like they did in their first matchup. Notre Dame only averaged 23 fouls per game this year and lost by a combined three goals in the regular season to the top two seeds in the tournament, Boston College and North Carolina, respectively. Their sloppy performance against Virginia was likely an anomaly and the Cavaliers should be prepared for a much tougher opponent.

If Virginia defeats Notre Dame in the first round, the path to a championship will get much tougher. In the eight-team tournament, they would likely face the No. 1 seed Boston College in the semifinals and North Carolina or Virginia Tech in the finals. The Cavaliers lost to all three in the regular season. 

Boston College is the most impressive team in the tournament and should be the heavy favorites to win it all. They are 17-0 this season, ranked No. 2 in the country and finished the season with six straight wins against top 20 opponents. Led by junior attacker Sam Appuzzo’s four goals per game, they are tied for the eighth best-scoring offense in the country with 16 goals per game. An upset over Boston College would be a feat in and of itself for Virginia and prove them capable of defeating anyone in the finals.

The Cavaliers recently had five players named to all-ACC teams this season and will need them performing at their best to make a run in the tournament. Junior attacker Avery Shoemaker, senior midfielder Kasey Behr and sophomore midfielder Sammy Mueller were all named to the first team. All three scored over 40 goals this season and will be relied on to continue their playmaking.

Junior defenders Sophie Alecce and Kaitlin Luzik were named to the second team. The two led a defense that went against some of the top offenses in the country all season long and the ACC tournament will be no different.

To pull off multiple upsets, Virginia will need more than just these players to perform. They will need everyone to be playing at their best. This includes players such as senior goalkeeper Rachel Vander Kolk who had an up-and-down season but will look to end her career on top. Freshmen midfielder Chloe Jones and attacker Olivia Schildmeyer taking a step forward in their careers during the tournament would be a huge boost as well. They have both shown their ability to score and have the potential to be X-factors in the postseason. 

Virginia’s game against Notre Dame is at 2 p.m. on Thursday. A win would mean a 5 p.m. game on Friday, while the championship will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The entire tournament is being played in Durham, North Carolina, but can be viewed online using WatchESPN. 

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