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CHARLOTTESVILLE – The No. 2 Virginia women’s lacrosse team will open its season at home this weekend, playing host to, and facing, it’s first ranked opponent of the season. The No. 4 Syracuse Orange will visit Klockner Stadium this Saturday, March 1, for a 1 p.m. draw, marking the first time that top-five women’s lacrosse teams will face off this season.

Both squads enter the contest with a 2-0 record. The Orange, bringing its highest-ever ranking into the game, has scored 42 goals in their first two games; a 24-3 win over Canisius and an 18-5 victory over No. 17/14 Dartmouth. Senior Katie Rowan leads the powerful offense with 14 points.

Defensively, freshman goalkeeper Liz Hogan is hot for Syracuse right now. She is allowing just 2.15 goals per game, while stopping .733 percentage of shots faced, and was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week after last week’s competition.

In the previous nine meetings between the Orange and Cavaliers, both squads have been ranked, with Virginia holding the higher ranking each time. The Cavaliers hold the all-time edge at 6-3, but only 3-2 at home, due to the road team winning five of the nine contests. Virginia is currently on a three-game win streak over Syracuse.

All but one game in the entire series has been played throughout the month of March. In 2004, the teams met on Feb. 28 in Charlottesville, with the Orange escaping with a 14-13 victory.

Overall, the Cavaliers won the first three meetings in the series (1999-2001), before the Orange knotted the series at three apiece, with three consecutive victories (2002-04). Virginia has since extended its advantage to 6-3, winning the last three.

Last year, sophomore Brittany Kalkstein tallied three scores for the Cavaliers, who held a 5-4 advantage at halftime. Virginia, led by sophomore Kaitlin Duff winning three of the last five draw controls, notched five of the last seven goals of the contest to secure the 10-8 victory in Syracuse, NY.

Virginia will have a quick turnaround after this game, and face another highly ranked opponent. The Cavaliers will travel to College Park, Md., for a conference contest against ACC-foe No. 5/3 Maryland. Opening draw is slated for 7:06 p.m., and the game will be televised on CSTV.

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