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No. 13 women’s lacrosse downs No. 16 Princeton 20-11 in the Tigers’ home opener

Four Cavaliers recorded hat tricks to achieve the comeback win and keep their perfect record

<p>Graduate student attacker Ashlyn McGovern was second on the team in goals with five scored on the day.</p>

Graduate student attacker Ashlyn McGovern was second on the team in goals with five scored on the day.

No. 13 women’s lacrosse traveled to Princeton, N.J. Saturday to take on No. 16 Princeton. The Cavaliers (3-0-0, 0-0 ACC) fought hard to stay in the game for the first half but dominated in the second, scoring eight unanswered goals in the third quarter and defeating the Tigers (0-1-0, 0-0 Ivy League) with a final score of 20-11. 

Four Cavaliers recorded hat tricks to secure the victory. Sophomore attacker Rachel Clark led the team with six goals, followed by graduate student attacker Ashlyn McGovern with five. Senior midfielder Kiki Shaw and junior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg scored three goals apiece to round out Virginia’s offense. 

The first period started with an offensive blitz by the Tigers, who scored four unassisted and unanswered goals in the first five minutes of the game. The Cavaliers answered quickly though, with a strike by sophomore attacker Kate Miller that put them on the board. 

A swift goal by freshman attacker Jami MacDonald put the Tigers’ lead back at five goals. However, two goals by Shaw and one by Clark closed the scoring deficit a bit, and Virginia entered the second quarter down just 5-4.

The Cavaliers struck first in the second period with a goal by Clark — her second of the day — to tie the game. The Tigers responded as junior attacker Grace Tauckus fired one past senior goalkeeper Ashley Vernon. Down again, Virginia fired into gear, scoring four unanswered goals — two more from Clark, one from McGovern and one from Hoeg. 

One more goal for each team, including a man-up opportunity goal from junior attacker Morgan Schwab, brought the Cavaliers into halftime up 10-7.

The third quarter was marked by dominant play by Virginia. Five different Cavaliers collectively scored eight goals, with McGovern scoring three back-to-back. 

The Cavaliers controlled the game defensively as well, winning six of seven draw controls, holding the Tigers scoreless. Princeton’s only shot on goal of the quarter came from a free position taken by sophomore midfielder McKenzie Blake, but her shot was saved by Vernon, leaving the Tigers scoreless for the quarter.

Virginia attempted to continue its control of the game in the final quarter, once again winning six of seven draw controls. However, Princeton fought hard, picking up seven out of eight ground balls and forcing two turnovers.

The Tigers tallied four goals compared with Virginia’s two, but it was not enough to overcome the Cavaliers’ stellar third-quarter performance, and they fell 20-11.

Several players contributed to Virginia’s success. In addition to the four players that tallied hat tricks, Schwab recorded one goal and five assists, totaling six points in the match. The Cavaliers won 26 draw controls, taken mainly by junior midfielder Aubrey Williams, which largely overshadowed Princeton’s nine. Vernon made six saves, but most notably had three in the first quarter, which allowed the Cavaliers to keep pace with Princeton.

Clark was a known quantity — having appeared on the preseason Tewaarton Award Watch List, given to the best player in women’s lacrosse — but if McGovern can score with the kind of aptitude seen Saturday, this Virginia offense could be even more dangerous than expected.

Looking forward, Virginia opens conference play next weekend, hosting Louisville on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The match will take place at Klöckner Stadium as the home opener for the Cavaliers.