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No. 11 women’s lacrosse leans on clutch finish to put away No. 3 Boston College

The Cavaliers showed resilience and came out on top in a nail-biting game that needed extra time to decide a victor

<p>Freshman attacker Madison Alaimo celebrates her game-winning overtime goal for the Cavaliers.</p>

Freshman attacker Madison Alaimo celebrates her game-winning overtime goal for the Cavaliers.

Virginia women’s lacrosse continued its ACC campaign Saturday in a home clash against Boston College. The No. 11 Cavaliers (12-3, 5-3 ACC) defeated the No. 3 Eagles (12-3, 6-2 ACC) in overtime by a 13-12 margin. The contest was a massive victory for Virginia and may prove to be a critical boost for their chances in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. 

Junior attacker Kate Miller opened the scoring for Virginia early in the first quarter with a right side dodge after sophomore goalkeeper Mel Josephson kickstarted the Cavaliers’ attack with a save on a Boston College free-position attempt. The Eagles’ senior attacker Kayla Martello would soon equalize, but Virginia would quickly respond.

A nice entry pass from junior midfielder Abby Manalang found graduate attacker Katia Carnevale in front of the goal, who ripped it into the upper corner. Less than two minutes later, freshman attacker Madison Alaimo would extend the lead to 3-1 with the final goal of the period.

The second quarter started with both teams trading goals early. Boston College would make it a one-point contest via Martello once again, but Virginia was far from allowing the Eagles any momentum. The Cavaliers went on a 4-0 run in the last five minutes of the half. Freshman attacker Jenna Dinardo started the run by leaping high in the air to catch a pass from Alaimo, then skillfully faking high and shooting low to slot it home. Freshman midfielder Kate Galica, graduate attacker Kiki Shaw and junior attacker Kate Miller also scored during the quarter. Boston College would get one goal back with just two seconds left, though, after a clearing error by Josephson. Virginia went into the locker room at halftime leading 8-4.

The Eagles came out storming in the third quarter, scoring just seven seconds into the period to kickstart a 5-0 run. Virginia’s problems on the draw were exacerbated during the quarter, as Boston College was able to score multiple times in a row without the Cavaliers getting a chance to attack themselves.

Junior attacker Emma LoPinto scored twice during the period and Martello, senior midfielder Belle Smith and graduate midfielder Cassidy Weeks also got in on the scoring action for the Eagles. Later in the quarter, Dinardo tied the game at nine goals apiece to end the quarter, but the damage had been done and Virginia’s sizable lead was no more.

The fourth quarter was a riveting affair to watch for fans in attendance. To start, Shaw and junior attacker Rachel Clark traded goals in man-up situations for the Cavaliers and Boston College respectively. Virginia tried to pull away with around five minutes left to play, as Galica feinted on the left and snuck down the center of the defense to make it 11-10. 

But the Eagles didn’t give up so easily — LoPinto scored to complete a hat trick, and graduate midfielder Ryan Smith converted on a free position attempt with less than a minute to play, seemingly putting the Cavaliers out of their misery. Yet Galica would respond once again with just two seconds left to play to force the matchup into overtime. Thanks to a turnover forced by senior defender Maggie Bostain, Galica bodied her defender and avoided multiple checks to knot the score at 12. The close matchup deservedly needed more than just regulation to decide a winner.

Carnevale found Alaimo on the crease in overtime, and she dispatched the chance coolly to end the game via sudden death. Both teams showed grit and toughness to bring the game to extra play, but the Cavaliers seized the opportunity to win. Coach Sonia LaMonica praised how quick her team is to bounce back from adversity.

“Just so much joy for this group, for these seniors, and the whole entire team,” LaMonica said. “And all of our support group, our coaches and all the people that work hard in these moments. Just the grit, the fire and the hunger that this team showed, the resiliency. Our youngsters stepping up in some huge moments and seeing our seniors who had some big plays. From top to bottom I am just so thrilled.”

Virginia was once again strong on each side of the ball Saturday. Dinardo, Galica, Alaimo, Miller, Shaw and Carnevale all had two points or more, and Josephson’s ten saves were integral in containing the Boston College attack. 

On the Eagles’ side, Martello and LoPinto had hat tricks and junior attacker McKenna Davis had four points on the day. It wasn’t enough to grab the win, however, as the Cavaliers’ goals late in the shot clock and quarter proved too much for them to handle. Virginia left Klöckner Stadium with their first top-3 win since 2015 and a reassurance that it can beat any opponent in the nation.

The Cavaliers will cap off their regular season ACC slate with a battle in the Commonwealth Clash against Virginia Tech Wednesday. First draw in Blacksburg is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on ACCNX.

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