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Second-half run pushes No. 16 women’s lacrosse over Louisville

In a back and forth conference matchup, the Cavaliers converted on timely chances to escape the Cardinals

<p>The Cavaliers picked up a crucial win to set them up for a strong finish to the season.</p>

The Cavaliers picked up a crucial win to set them up for a strong finish to the season.

Virginia women’s lacrosse picked up their second ACC win of the season, edging out Louisville 12-11. The Cavaliers (6-6, 1-3 ACC) went toe to toe with the Cardinals (5-6, 1-4 ACC) in a tightly contested battle to improve to .500 on the season.

The Cavaliers were led by freshman midfielder breakout Rachel Clark and senior attacker Ashlyn McGovern, each of whom netted a hat trick to propel a Cavaliers offense that had been struggling coming into the game.

Virginia got off to a torrid start, something they have been missing all season. McGovern scored two quick ones before junior midfielder Kiki Shaw netted a goal of her own to push the Cavaliers to an early 3-0 lead. Louisville responded with two quick goals of their own in the short span of 33 seconds to cut the lead to one, but Clark scored her first goal of the game to end the quarter and get the Cavaliers back on track.

Despite a good first quarter offensive attack, Virginia’s offense struggled in the second frame, as the unit went scoreless. On the other hand, Louisville’s offense picked up the pace, scoring three goals in the quarter to take a 5-4 lead going into halftime.

Virginia looked to turn the tide in the third quarter, although the Cardinals had other plans, scoring the first goal of the frame to push the lead to two. Senior attacker Braeden Dial scored just 59 seconds later to cut the lead back down to one.

After Louisville found the response, Virginia’s offense kicked into the gear it had been looking for all game. Over a 3:11 period in the third, the Cavalier offense went on a 4-0 run, with four different goal scorers: McGovern, Clark, sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg and freshman attacker Kate Miller.

Unfazed, Louisville came back with an emphatic response, scoring two goals with under five minutes remaining in the quarter to tie the score at nine heading into the pivotal fourth quarter. 

49 seconds into the fourth quarter was all Clark needed to complete her hat trick and give the Cavaliers the lead, one they would not relinquish. After a scoring drought that lasted almost nine minutes, Miller scored the second goal of the quarter to put Virginia up 11-9. Louisville responded 33 seconds later, but Dial iced the game away with a quick response of her own shortly after.

This is a huge win for Virginia, as they pull back to .500 on the season, and it sets them up to potentially finish strong in a final four game stretch that includes showdowns against Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

The Cavaliers will return to action April 2 at 1:00 p.m. against Duke. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.

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