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No. 12 Virginia women’s lacrosse loses in close matchup against No. 5 James Madison

The Dukes held Virginia to their lowest scoring output of the season in the defeat

<p>Graduate student attacker Ashyln McGovern led the Cavaliers with four goals on the day.</p>

Graduate student attacker Ashyln McGovern led the Cavaliers with four goals on the day.

No. 12 Virginia women’s lacrosse was dealt its third loss of the season at the hands of No. 5 James Madison Wednesday afternoon in Harrisonburg. The Cavaliers (7-3, 3-1 ACC) led after three quarters, but the Dukes (9-1, 1-0 AAC) dominated the final quarter en route to a 10-8 victory.

The first quarter began slowly for both teams. After winning the opening draw, Virginia gained possession but was unable to capitalize on a shot from sophomore attacker Rachel Clark, who was held to just her second scoreless game of the season. 

After both teams traded possessions in a defensive battle, the Dukes got on the board first with three and a half minutes left in the first quarter on a man-up goal from junior midfielder Taylor Marchetti. 

The first half of the second quarter was similar to the opening quarter, as neither team could find an opening in the opposing defense. However, the Cavaliers finally got on the board with 8:29 remaining in the second quarter, as sophomore midfielder Kate Miller found graduate student attacker Ashlyn McGovern to tie the game 1-1. 

After strong defense forced the ball back into the Cavaliers’ hands, McGovern would score the second of her four goals of the game to give Virginia its first lead of the game. The Cavaliers would capitalize on this momentum, as McGovern found junior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg to make the score 3-1 with a little over three minutes until halftime. However, James Madison cut the Cavaliers’ lead to one right before the end of the first half. 

The Dukes would open up the scoring in the second half when senior attacker Tai Jankowski got her hands free and found the back of the net, scoring her 25th goal of the season. 

With six minutes left in the third quarter, Virginia would retake the lead off a free position shot from sophomore midfielder Abby Manalang to make the score 4-3. Both teams would trade goals throughout the rest of the third quarter with the Cavaliers taking a 6-5 advantage going into the final frame. 

After hanging with James Madison throughout the first three quarters of the game, the Dukes showcased their talent in the final quarter, out-scoring the Cavaliers 5-2. To open the fourth, Miller found McGovern for her third assist of the game, giving Virginia a 7-5 lead. However, James Madison tied the game quickly after two goals, one of which was a man-down goal by sophomore attacker Olivia Mattis. 

Virginia responded on a free position shot by senior midfielder Jaime Biskup but this would be the Cavaliers' final lead of the game, as James Madison scored three straight goals in the final six minutes en route to its 10-8 victory.

Although the Cavaliers battled for 60 minutes, their inability to close out this game against a tough opponent could be cause for concern as the backend of conference play approaches. In order for the Cavaliers to succeed throughout the rest of the season, it is clear their offense will need to win them games. Three of the four lowest-scoring outputs by Virginia resulted in losses — including Wednesday afternoon — so look for the squad to be most successful when its offense is not held in check.

Virginia returns to Klöckner Stadium Saturday when they take on No. 11 Notre Dame. The game is set for 12 p.m. and will be broadcast on ACC Network.

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