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No. 9 women’s lacrosse overcomes No. 16 Virginia Tech, winning 12-10

In a back-and-forth battle, Virginia made just enough plays late to escape with a victory

<p>The Virginia women's lacrosse team celebrates following a goal against rival Virginia Tech.</p>

The Virginia women's lacrosse team celebrates following a goal against rival Virginia Tech.

In the latest installment of the Commonwealth Clash, No. 9 Virginia took the field against No. 16 Virginia Tech in a highly anticipated ranked matchup. The Cavaliers (3-0, 1-0 ACC) went back and forth with the Hokies (2-2, 0-2 ACC), before finding separation late to escape with a 12-10 victory. 

After dominating the first two matchups of the season against East Carolina and Richmond, the Cavaliers finally received firm opposition, with the Hokies playing disciplined yet effective lacrosse throughout the game. 

Virginia continued its trend of coming out of the gate quickly, as junior attacker Ashlyn McGovern opened the scoring just 25 seconds into the game with freshman midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg on the assist. 

Virginia Tech found its answer just over two minutes later courtesy of senior attacker Sarah Lubnow, who took the feed from freshman attacker Whitney Liebler and beat senior goalkeeper Charlie Campbell to bring the game level.

The Cavaliers went back on the attack quickly, netting their response 37 seconds later. Sophomore midfielder Kiki Shaw scored her second goal of the season to put Virginia back on top. The Hokies would not go away, however, as Lubnow netted her second goal of the game to even the score and begin a back-and-forth shootout early.

12 seconds after Lubnow evened the score at two, junior midfielder Annie Dyson continued her hot streak and scored her first goal of the game to put the Cavaliers back on top. The Hokies, however, bucked the back-and-forth pattern and went on a 2-0 run to gain a 4-3 advantage. Liebler and sophomore attacker Paige Tyson provided the scoring, putting the pressure back on the Cavaliers’ offense.

Virginia answered with a 2-0 run of its own over a 31-second span to climb back on top, 5-4. Hoeg scored her first goal of the game with senior attacker Taylor Regan on the assist, while Dyson got back into the scoring mix with her second of the game off a perfect dish from junior attacker Lillie Kloak. 

Tyson would score the equalizer 62 seconds later, her second goal of the game. With 20:43 to go in the first half, the Hokies and Cavaliers combined for ten goals, with the score knotted at 5 apiece. Both offenses cooled in the last 20 minutes of the half, as the Cavaliers scored three of the last four goals to take a 8-6 lead into halftime. 

A big storyline for the Virginia offense in the first half was the lack of offense off of free position shots. After going a combined 11-16 in the first halves of the first two games, the Cavaliers went 0-3 against the Hokies. Virginia Tech played disciplined defense, forcing Virginia to create all of its offense. The Cavaliers’ offensive threats, however, were up to the challenge with Dyson, Hoeg and McGovern playing at an elite level to overcome a quality defensive performance from the Hokies. 

The second half began the same way the first half did, with McGovern beating senior goalkeeper Angie Benson for her third straight hat trick of the season. Both offenses struggled as the second half continued, with each side making the necessary halftime defensive adjustments to weather a torrid offensive start.

Over the next 11:20 of play, the Hokies would outscore the Cavaliers 2-1 to bring the score to 10-8 in Virginia’s favor. Senior midfielder Paige Petty scored both goals for the Hokies, while freshman midfielder Maggie Bostain scored the first and last free position shot of the game for the Cavaliers. 

After a 7:23 scoring drought for both teams, the Cavaliers found their offensive groove once again, with Kloak and Dyson scoring two goals within 24 seconds of each other to extend the lead to four. The Hokies would score two goals late, but it was not enough to overcome the Cavaliers’ advantage. 

Virginia once agains received huge contributions from McGovern and Dyson, who both scored hat tricks to bring their goal counts to ten and eight, respectively, on the season. Hoeg continued her breakout start, accounting for a crucial three points to bring variety to the offense. 

The Cavaliers will look to make it four in a row to start the season when they take on Louisville March 6 at 11 a.m. in Klockner Stadium. The broadcast is to be determined.