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No. 11 women’s lacrosse uses big fourth quarter, dominant defense to beat Louisville 13-8

A back and forth affair between the two teams was opened wide in the final period of play

<p>Senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg put four goals past the Cardinals in the Cavaliers' win Saturday.</p>

Senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg put four goals past the Cardinals in the Cavaliers' win Saturday.

After a big Wednesday win at home against VCU, Virginia women’s lacrosse hit the road to take on Louisville in a return to ACC play Saturday morning. The Cavaliers (11-3, 4-3 ACC) kept their momentum going against the Cardinals (6-8, 2-5 ACC), picking up a 13-8 win after pouring home five goals in the final period.

The Cardinals opened the scoring in the first quarter, with senior attacker Kokoro Nakazawa finding graduate attacker Allegra Catalano to make it 1-0. The Cavaliers responded less than a minute later thanks to an impressive right side dodge and low finish from junior attacker Kate Miller. 

Virginia would then tack on two more goals before the quarter ended, courtesy of junior midfielder Abby Manalang — marking just her second goal of the season — and senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg. Louisville didn’t let the game get away from them though, as sophomore midfielder Negai Nakazawa slotted a goal home to keep the game within one goal.

Early in the second quarter, Nakazawa equalized the score for the Cardinals, but her effort was quickly nullified when the Cavaliers’ freshman attacker Jenna Dinardo scored twice in a row. The teams would then trade goals twice to end the first half of play, with Virginia leading 7-5. 

To start the third quarter, it was Dinardo who scored once again, completing her hat trick with a tricky off-balance shot taken on the jump, which was assisted by freshman attacker Madison Alaimo. Yet, that would be the last time the Cavaliers scored during the quarter. Louisville would strike twice — first with a free position shot by sophomore midfielder Maggie McMahon, then another strike from Nakazawa. The teams were separated by only one goal going into the last quarter of play.

Despite back and forth play throughout the contest, the fourth quarter was all Virginia. The Cavaliers poured in five goals in a row to essentially end the game within just nine minutes elapsing. During this stretch, Hoeg scored twice and Alaimo, Manalang and graduate midfielder Kiki Shaw all added goals. The Cardinals’ McMahon scored a consolation point on a free position shot, but the damage had been done — the final score was 13-8 in favor of Virginia.

The Cavaliers outmatched Louisville on the offensive end, outshooting the Cardinals an astounding 36-18 and also winning the turnover battle by two. Three Cavaliers recorded four points and seven different players recorded a goal in what turned out to be a balanced attack that Louisville couldn’t contain. Coach Sonia LaMonica appreciated how Virginia began to turn things up coming down the stretch.

“We took things one quarter at a time,” LaMonica said. “I did think there were some moments where we could have shown a little more of a sense of urgency and a little more hunger. We talked about that and they responded really well. We did a good job of halting any scoring runs that Louisville could go on and then we had some good success with the draws and we started finishing a little better down the stretch. All in all, it was a really great road win for us.”

The win puts the Cavaliers back above .500 in ACC play with two conference contests remaining to finish out the season. Saturday, Virginia will look to have a victorious senior day in a matchup against No. 3 Boston College in Charlottesville. The game — which is set to start at 4 p.m. — will be hugely influential in deciding the seeding for the ACC Tournament and will be broadcast on ACCNX.


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