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No. 6 women’s lacrosse relies on veteran goalscoring to defeat Virginia Tech 14-12

Graduate attacker Katia Carnevale and graduate midfielder Kiki Shaw combined for nine goals on the day

<p>The Cavaliers narrowly took down the Hokies to finish out the regular season.</p>

The Cavaliers narrowly took down the Hokies to finish out the regular season.

Virginia women’s lacrosse ended its regular season play on a high note Wednesday at Thompson Field in Blacksburg, as the Cavaliers (13-3, 6-3 ACC) got the better of their in-state rivals Virginia Tech by a 14-12 margin in the Commonwealth Clash. The win over the Hokies (9-8, 2-7 ACC) was another important one for Virginia in the ever-competitive ACC as the team carries momentum into the ACC Tournament. 

The first quarter started out well for the Hokies — graduate attacker Kayla Downey found senior attacker Claire Schotta to open up the scoring. Virginia Tech would then extend its lead after junior attacker Olivia Vergano found the back of the net with around five minutes left. Virginia answered late in the quarter, with freshman attacker Jenna Dinardo slotting home a free position attempt. 

The Cavaliers came back onto the field in the second quarter with a point to prove. After both teams traded goals initially, Dinardo found senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg right in front of the goal for her second goal of the day. Senior defender Maggie Bostain would then look off multiple teammates and dive through the middle of the Hokie defense to grab a 4-3 lead for Virginia. 

Following the teams trading goals again, this time on free position attempts, Shaw dodged hard from the right side of the net and unleashed a shot that bounced off the left post and into the net. Soon after, a leaping shot from Dinardo put the Cavaliers up 7-4. Yet, with just 19 seconds left in the half, Downey scored to keep the contest within two points.

Virginia didn’t take long to open the scoring in the third quarter. Just 13 seconds into play in the second half, Carnevale scored her first of the day on a free position attempt. The quarter was a battle between Carnevale and sophomore midfielder Lauren Render, who both scored hat tricks in the period. Downey and Shaw also scored for the Hokies and Cavaliers, respectively. Although the quarter was intense and featured back-to-back scoring, Virginia never lost its lead. Whatever Virginia Tech threw at the Cavaliers, they were ready with a response. Still up by just two goals, Virginia needed to hold steady in the last period to see out the victory.

Carnevale scored once again to start the fourth quarter, an insanely skillful shovel shot from a tight angle that was certainly the goal of the game. Vergano kept the game within two points with another goal of her own, but Carnevale scored for an incredible fifth time in just the second half with a left-side dodge. Render answered again for the Hokies and the teams traded goals again to end the game, with the visitors never looking like they would relinquish the lead. The final score was 14-12 in favor of the Cavaliers. 

In a back-and-forth game that was close until the end, it was Shaw’s four goals and Carnevale’s five goals that clinched the win for Virginia. Dinardo and Hoeg also helped on the offensive end, both tallying three points. The Hokies ultimately couldn’t match up with the Cavaliers’ offensive firepower, but they made a valiant effort — Vergano, Schotta, Downey and Render all had at least three points on the day. On the defensive end, sophomore goaltender Jocelyn Torres had an impressive 11 saves.

A refreshing victory for the Cavaliers came off the draw, which has been a point of struggle all season. Virginia outdrew Virginia Tech 16-13 as freshman midfielder Kate Galica picked up her 70th draw control of the season, breaking the school record for a freshman. Winning the draw was important for Wednesday’s victory, but will be even more critical during the ACC Tournament in high stakes games that come down to the wire.

Despite the sheer volume of scoring on Virginia’s end, winning a game in the Commonwealth Clash is never easy, no matter what either team's records are. Coach Sonia LaMonica remarked how in a rivalry contest like this one, resilience is key to victory.

“This was such a key game,” LaMonica said. “We knew Virginia Tech is going to battle us all the way down the wire. And we knew we were going to have to grind through four quarters. So this is a great victory. They really toughed it out and got the job done on the road. So, I’m really proud. It wasn’t our prettiest game, but that’s okay. It shows that we have [the] resiliency and heart that we are looking for.”

Virginia will look to capitalize on this momentum when they play North Carolina — who the Cavaliers fell to Feb. 23 in overtime — in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. The game is set to start at 2 p.m. and will be shown on ACC Network.

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