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No. 16 Virginia women’s lacrosse outlasts Princeton 14-12 at home

A dominant third quarter sealed the deal for the Cavaliers

<p>Graduate student midfielder Kiki Shaw registered a hat-trick of goals for the Cavaliers Saturday.&nbsp;</p>

Graduate student midfielder Kiki Shaw registered a hat-trick of goals for the Cavaliers Saturday. 

Virginia women’s lacrosse took the field Saturday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium to face Princeton in its third game of the season. The Cavaliers (3-0, 0-0 ACC) jumped out to an early lead and repelled multiple comeback attempts by the Tigers (0-1, 0-0 Ivy League) on the way to a 14-12 victory that maintained their undefeated season. 

Virginia came out firing in the first quarter, quickly gaining a 2-0 lead thanks to senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg receiving a pass on the crease and scoring with ease. Soon after, graduate midfielder Kiki Shaw made an impressive move that dropped her defender to the grass before hurling it home to put the Cavaliers up by two goals. 

The Tigers scored one of their own to halve the deficit, but an amazing piece of individual skill from freshman midfielder Kate Galica put Virginia back up by two goals. The Cavaliers and Princeton would then trade goals to end the quarter.

Shaw scored once again to kick off the second period, and her goal was followed by senior attacker Morgan Schwab’s impressive spin move that set her up for a successful underhand shot. The Cavaliers were now up 6-2 and seemingly in full control of the game. 

However, the Tigers fought back with two goals of their own to bring the game back within two points, and the visitors looked to be gaining possession for another attack before Shaw completed her first-half hat trick by launching a fast shot into the top right of the net as the possession buzzer sounded. Both teams would once again trade goals to end the half, going into the locker rooms with Virginia leading 8-5. 

The third quarter started with the Cavaliers back on the front foot. Goals by freshman attackers Madison Alaimo and Jenna DiNardo started a 3-0 run for Virginia, and Hoeg kept the momentum going by diving to the crease and scoring off a good pass. 

Princeton once again clawed back with two unanswered goals, but it got no closer to tying the game after Alaimo stole the ball in transition and finished the work herself, putting the Cavaliers up 12-7. Virginia’s pressure in the midfield made the Tigers uncomfortable all game. 

The fourth quarter started off in spectacular fashion, with graduate attacker Katia Carnevale and Schwab forming an effective duo. Carnevale found Schwab in the middle of the defense, and although the senior didn’t have a great angle for a shot, her impressive overhead backwards effort found the net.

Schwab supplemented her two-goal performance with four assists throughout the day, which moved her into fourth place all-time in assists in Cavaliers program history. When asked about the accomplishment, however, Schwab stayed humble. 

“I think at the end of the day, where it comes from is me just having awesome teammates that get themselves out there and for the opportunity,” Schwab said. “I wouldn't have any of that without all of them. They make it possible.”

Although Virginia had stretched the lead out to a game-high six goals with 13:45 remaining, Princeton picked up some heavy momentum down the stretch. The Tigers embarked on a thundering 5-1 run that brought their deficit to two goals with just over one minute remaining. With Cavaliers fans suddenly nervous about the game’s outcome, Virginia put in a strong final 60 seconds of defense and came away with a 14-12 win. 

Virginia fought off numerous Princeton comeback attempts in this matchup, proving to be irrepressible when faced with adversity. Coach Sonia LaMonica was impressed by her team’s ability to deal with the Tigers’ runs throughout the contest. 

“We talk a lot about resiliency as a team,” LaMonica said. “The game is going to have a lot of ebbs and flows and sometimes a team will have some momentum, but it’s about how we respond in those moments. I think defensively we came up with some huge stops during some of those runs and attempts at a comeback.”

The Cavaliers have a right to be proud of their gritty performance, but Saturday marked the second consecutive game in which Virginia allowed a lesser opposition to stay too close for comfort. After squeaking by Stanford 10-9 Feb. 11 and allowing a sizable Princeton comeback Saturday, the Cavaliers will look to win more convincingly as the schedule toughens up in the coming weeks. Next up for Virginia is a home matchup Friday against No. 6 North Carolina. The game will start at 5 p.m. and is set to be broadcast on ACCNX.


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