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No. 13 women’s lacrosse holds on for 12-10 win against No. 4 Notre Dame

Virginia showed incredible resolve in an away matchup against an ACC foe

<p>The Cavaliers held the Fighting Irish to just 10 goals in an important conference win Saturday afternoon.</p>

The Cavaliers held the Fighting Irish to just 10 goals in an important conference win Saturday afternoon.

Virginia women’s lacrosse’s quick turnaround from a Wednesday win over No. 23 Richmond did not deter the No. 13 Cavaliers (7-1, 2-1 ACC) when they traveled to South Bend, Ind. to face Notre Dame Saturday afternoon. Virginia earned a gritty 12-10 victory against the No. 4 Fighting Irish (5-1, 1-2 ACC), and it took a strong all-around showing from the Cavaliers to add to the win column.

Virginia did not wait long to start scoring, as senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg found the net just 55 seconds into play. The Fighting Irish answered quickly though, tying the contest at one goal apiece after graduate midfielder Kasey Choma slotted one home. The two teams would trade goals twice more, and as the clock wound down in the first quarter, the score was tied 3-3. Yet, with just 13 seconds left, senior attacker Morgan Schwab scored to give the Cavaliers the advantage.

In the beginning of the second quarter, Notre Dame came out swinging and scored twice within the first minute of play thanks to senior attacker Abby Maichin and graduate attacker Madison Ahern. Virginia answered once again, with Hoeg and Schwab adding to their goal tallies for the day. The teams would trade goals another time to end the first half, but the Cavaliers led the Fighting Irish 7-6 going into the break.

The third quarter proved to be the deciding factor between the two teams, as Virginia took control of the game. Graduate attacker Katia Carnevale scored early, then freshman attacker Jenna Dinardo exploded for a third-quarter hat trick. Notre Dame’s Ahern interrupted the scoring run through a free-position shot. The Cavaliers tried to protect a four-goal lead going into the last quarter, but the Fighting Irish found the net with just six seconds left to slim the lead to an 11-8 advantage thanks to Maichin scoring and completing a hat trick of her own.

The back-and-forth game continued to provide drama in the final period, as Notre Dame’s senior midfielder Mary Kelly Doherty scored twice in a row to get the Fighting Irish within one goal of Virginia. However, Hoeg’s goal with just over seven minutes left in the contest proved to be the last scoring action, and the Cavaliers prevailed by a score of 12-10.

Although both offenses put up strong performances — Hoeg, Schwab, Dinardo and junior attacker Kate Miller all had at least three points on the day for the Cavaliers, while Choma, Doherty, Ahern and Maichin did the same for Notre Dame –- it was Virginia’s defense that guided them to victory.

Saturday’s matchup definitely lived up to its high expectations, with a nail-biting five lead changes. Coach Sonia LaMonica was quick to comment about the competitiveness between the two teams.

“I’m so proud of this group,” LaMonica said. “That was just a great battle. Two great teams, and it really came down to the wire. I really loved the resolve of our group … Notre Dame made a good hard push late in the game to really close the gap, and defensively we stepped up and [were] able to shut that door.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Mel Josephson had an impressive day as well, saving nine shots — including holding the Fighting Irish to a two-for-nine clip when it came to free-position attempts. Josephson has been brilliant all season for the Cavaliers and was crucial in keeping their lead during important moments in the game.

After this closely fought contest, Virginia will compete again Saturday at Klöckner Stadium against Pittsburgh. The first draw will be at noon and will be broadcasted live on ACCNX.

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