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No. 16 Virginia women’s lacrosse earns gritty win in home opener against Stanford

A second half comeback propelled the Cavaliers to victory

<p>Graduate attacker Katia Carnevale registered two goals and an assist to propel the Cavaliers to their second straight win.</p>

Graduate attacker Katia Carnevale registered two goals and an assist to propel the Cavaliers to their second straight win.

Virginia women’s lacrosse kept the momentum going from its last outing and narrowly defeated Stanford at Klöckner Stadium Sunday. The Cavaliers (2-0, 0-0 ACC) entered halftime down two goals, but a strong second half secured a victory over the Cardinal (0-1, 0-0 Pac 12) by a score of 10-9. 

Virginia started off strongly in the early stages of the first quarter, quickly going up 2-0 thanks to goals by senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg and graduate attacker Katia Carnevale. The lead didn’t last long though — Stanford quickly equalized and the teams went into the second quarter with two goals apiece.

The Cardinal capitalized on this momentum, outscoring Virginia 3-1 in the second quarter to cap off a 5-1 scoring run. The Cavaliers went into the half down 5-3 and unable to find answers for Stanford’s junior attacker Annabell Frist, who outdrew Virginia 16-5 over the course of the game. The Cardinals dominated possession and looked strong heading into halftime.

Despite the negative turn of the game, the Cavaliers showed resolve and came out strong in the third quarter. Graduate midfielder Kiki Shaw scored early in the quarter, starting a 3-1 run for Virginia that included another goal for Hoeg and a goal for freshman attacker Madison Alaimo. With the score now tied 6-6, the Cardinal seemed to get back in their groove, scoring and taking the lead towards the end of the quarter. 

However, the Cavaliers showed resilience once more. Freshman attacker Jenna Dinardo found the net, a goal that was closely followed by another from senior attacker Morgan Schwab. The senior made a darting cut and was found by Alaimo on the crease, allowing Virginia to end the third period up 8-7 and in the driver’s seat.

Stanford equalized the score early in the fourth quarter, but Shaw quickly found the net and regained the lead for the Cavaliers. Virginia extended the lead to 10-8 after an incisive pass by junior attacker Kate Miller found Carnevale who hurled it home. The Cardinal persisted and made the score 10-9 with ample time to equalize, yet clutch saves by sophomore goalkeeper Mel Josephson — who had an impressive 12 saves on the night — made sure the Cavaliers’ comeback wasn’t spoiled.

Virginia did well all night to limit Stanford’s shot opportunities with stellar interior defense. Hoeg was also a dominant force in the midfield, kickstarting many of the Cavaliers’ attacks. The midfield also made it a tall task for the Cardinals to advance the ball at all, swarming the ball carrier with quickness and precision.

Furthermore, Carnevale was a force for Virginia on attack, following up her four-goal performance last outing with two goals and one assist in this contest. The graduate student attributes her success to hard work and a talented team around her.

“I'd say getting my extra reps in has kind of sharpened up my stick work and my shooting,” Carnevale said. “And that's also derived from my teammates as well, because they're always doing the same.”

Although things were looking rough for the Cavaliers at some points during the game, they never backed down and showed considerable spirit. That will be a must-have for Virginia as it continues to stare down a gauntlet of a schedule. 

“We showed resiliency and I think it was a good, tough, gritty win,” LaMonica said. “You know, obviously, conditions [weren’t], you know, great. But they worked through it, they continued to stay [on] course.”

Virginia plays again at home against Princeton Saturday. The game will start at noon and is set to be broadcast on ACCNX.


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