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No. 11 Virginia women’s lacrosse defeats Virginia Tech in Smithfield Commonwealth Clash

A dominant third quarter propelled the Cavaliers to victory

<p>Sophomore attacker Rachel Clark led the Cavaliers once again in scoring, this time with five goals.</p>

Sophomore attacker Rachel Clark led the Cavaliers once again in scoring, this time with five goals.

No. 11 Virginia women’s lacrosse outplayed rival Virginia Tech Thursday night at Klöckner Stadium, using a powerful second-half run to lead the team to a 15-10 victory. After only having a one-goal lead at halftime, the Cavaliers (11-5, 6-3 ACC) opened the second half with a 3-0 run to break the game open against the Hokies (9-8, 3-6 ACC). 

The Hokies opened the scoring Thursday night when sophomore midfielder Olivia Vergano scored her 41st goal of the season, giving Virginia Tech an early lead. The Cavaliers struggled offensively early on, with only one shot in the game's first six minutes. However, senior midfielder Jaime Biskup scored after a shifty dodge from behind the goal. 

Less than a minute later, Vergano responded for the Hokies, which would be Virginia Tech’s last lead of the game. The Cavaliers scored two straight goals to close out the first quarter, which was capped off by a goal from junior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg who received the ball off a beautiful assist from star sophomore attacker Rachel Clark. 

Early into the second quarter, Clark found the back of the net for the Cavaliers after she dodged her defender from the middle of the field. Throughout the second quarter, both teams struggled to retain possession. However, towards the end of the quarter, Hoeg scored her second goal of the game to take a 5-3 lead.

The Hokies closed out the first half on a last-second free position shot from Vergano, as Virginia took a 5-4 lead into halftime.

The Cavaliers finally took control of the contest at the beginning of the second half after graduate student attacker Taylor Mullen scored her second goal of the season, giving Virginia loads of momentum. 

Hoeg completed her hat trick to close out Virginia’s 3-0 run, taking an 8-4 lead. Virginia Tech was unable to get on the board until there were a little over six minutes left in the quarter. However, the Cavaliers did not let the Hokies get any closer, as Clark spearheaded another run for the Cavaliers. This run propelled Virginia to 11-6 in favor of the home squad at the end of the third quarter.

Virginia Tech scored the first two goals of the final quarter, but their effort in this frame was not enough to overcome their five-goal deficit. Senior midfielder Kiki Shaw did not let the Hokies within three goals when she scored her 17th goal of the season as the Cavaliers took a 12-8 lead. 

To close the game, Clark notched her 57th goal of the year with just 30 seconds left, putting the Hokies away with an exclamation point. 

A dominant win against its biggest rival is exactly what the Cavaliers needed heading into postseason play. After a double-digit loss to No. 5 Boston College last weekend, Virginia needed to bring some momentum into the ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers controlled the game from start to finish — leading in shots, ground balls and draw control, a great sign heading into a stretch of competing against the best opponents in the conference, and in the country.

The Cavaliers return to action Wednesday in the opening round of the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, N.C. No. 4 seed Virginia will face No. 5 seed Notre Dame. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ACC Network. 

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