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No. 9 women’s lacrosse cruises to 12-8 win against No. 6 James Madison

Another stellar defensive performance propelled the Cavaliers to an important victory

<p>Freshman attacker Jenna DiNardo poured in a career-high five goals Wednesday as the Cavaliers took down the Dukes.&nbsp;</p>

Freshman attacker Jenna DiNardo poured in a career-high five goals Wednesday as the Cavaliers took down the Dukes. 

Virginia faced off against James Madison in an in-state battle Wednesday at Klöckner Stadium. The No. 9 Cavaliers (9-1, 3-1 ACC) put together an impressive performance to send the No. 6 Dukes (7-2, 1-0 AAC) packing by a score of 12-8, headlined by an impressive five-goal performance from freshman attacker Jenna DiNardo. The defensive efforts were led by senior defender Maggie Bostain, who had three caused turnovers as well as a ground ball, while sophomore goaltender Mel Josephson tallied 11 saves, marking her sixth game this season with a double-digit save count. 

The game began with Virginia demonstrating its tough, disciplined defense as the hosts locked down James Madison for two minutes, eventually gaining possession of the ball and looking to go on the attack. After an initial shot by senior defender Kacy Hogarth was saved, graduate student midfielder Kiki Shaw scooped up the ground ball and finished the effort, putting the Cavaliers up just three minutes into the game. 

A minute later, Shaw would make another attempt off of a free position shot, quickly jumping the Virginia lead to two goals within four minutes. The next 3 minutes was a display of lockdown defense from both sides, neither willing to give up any ground and failing to find any openings. Around the seven minute mark, senior attacker Morgan Schwab broke the scoring drought, finding the back of the net for the 15th time this year to put the Cavaliers up 3-0. 

Despite two goals scored within the last seven minutes of the period for the Dukes, goals from DiNardo, junior attacker Kate Miller and senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg would set the score at 7-2 in favor of Virginia at the end of the first period. 

The second quarter was very different from the first for the Cavaliers, as they went the entire period without scoring. However, they still displayed impressive defensive prowess, forcing tough shots and long possessions from a strong James Madison offense. Although the defense was stout, around the 12-minute mark the Dukes found a way to the net, with sophomore attacker Maddie Epke cutting the lead to 7-3. 

Virginia conceded another goal two minutes later after two straight saves from Josephson, who was unable to keep the third shot out. The Cavaliers continued to apply offensive pressure with a shot from Hoeg nailing the crossbar and one from Miller being saved, however they were deterred from scoring again after their seven-goal explosion in the first quarter. While Virginia seemed to remain in control, the lack of offensive production was concerning headed into the second half, leaving the game wide open for James Madison. 

The second half began in favor of the Dukes, with junior attacker Olivia Mattis scoring to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to two goals with just over 11 minutes remaining in the period. However, Hoeg responded for Virginia moments later, scoring off of an assist from Miller to put the hosts up 8-5. 

With five and a half minutes remaining in the period, DiNardo kicked it into gear, finding the net twice in the span of a minute and a half to extend the lead to five goals. The period would end with no more scoring from either side and Virginia in comfortable control of the game.

Two minutes into the fourth quarter, a turnover by DiNardo would lead to a James Madison goal. However, moments later, DiNardo would make up for her mistake and put in a goal of her own — her fourth of the day. DiNardo then scored her fifth and final goal off of an assist from Schwab, giving the Cavaliers a 12-6 lead with just under 10 minutes remaining for the Dukes to make a comeback. Although James Madison would end up scoring two more goals in the period, the game was far out of reach, and the clock reached zero with a score of 12-8 in favor of Virginia.

Wednesday’s result was a huge win against a top-ranked opponent, as the Cavaliers showed elite ability on both ends of the field. Coach Sonia LaMonica was pleased with her team’s effort Wednesday, specifically noting the defensive performance.

“I am really proud of the defensive effort,” LaMonica said. “I think we really made JMU have to earn every look. They really made it tough. It was an outstanding performance defensively and our ride all over the field really taking time off the clock was huge. Our midfield worked their tails off today.”

Virginia stays at home for their next game Saturday, as the Cavaliers face off against No. 7 Syracuse at noon. The game will be broadcast on ACCNX. 

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