Cavaliers Advance to ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship Title Game
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – In an offensive battle between the number two and three seeds in the first semifinal game of the 2008 ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship, Virginia pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind 10-9 victory over third-seeded Duke late Friday afternoon at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va. With the win, the No. 2 seeded Cavaliers will play in Sunday’s title game at 1 p.m. and seek their third straight league crown and fifth all-time.
“Talk about a story of two halves,” Virginia head coach Julie Myers said. “I think Duke played amazingly well in the first half. They were crisp, they were shooting well and they were able to dominate on all those loose balls. The second half though, our team came out on fire and they were determined to make sure that they put a stop to Duke’s run. To hold Duke’s offense, which scored pretty easily in the first half to just one goal in the second, was just an outstanding performance.”
Duke went on the offensive attack at the opening draw, as the Blue Devils had six different scorers in the half. Sarah Bullard and Megan Del Monte paced the Duke offense with Bullard tallying three goals and Megan Del Monte notching a pair. All-ACC pick Carolyn Davis put the Blue Devils on the board early just three minutes into the game with a shot in the lower right corner. Davis later picked up an assist on a goal by freshman Emma Hamm that gave Duke a 3-0 advantage. Goals from Jess Adam and Bullard put the Blue Devils in a solid 5-0 advantage before the Cavaliers were able to penetrate through the Duke defense.
The Cavaliers found the back of the net halfway through the opening stanza, as senior Kaitlin Swagart scored at the 12:49 mark. Virginia began chipping away at the lead with two more goals, one each from Kaitlin Duff and junior attacker Jenny Hauser.
The Blue Devils added three goals of their own before entering the break with an 8-3 lead. Caroline Spearman collected her first career goal, while Del Monte and Bullard both netted a goal for the second time in the half.
After trailing the first half for only the third time this season and giving up a season-high eight goals in one stanza, the tide turned for Virginia in the second half behind the stellar performances of Megan O’Malley, Blair Weymouth and Jenny Hauser. Two goals from O’Malley and Weymouth gave the Cavaliers the momentum they needed to close the gap against Duke.
Hauser proved to be instrumental for Virginia, as her second goal of the game at 15:03 evened the playing field. Three minutes later, she fired a shot that gave the Cavaliers their first lead in the game making it her third of the day.
The two teams would trade leads with Bullard scoring her third goal on the day to tie things up at 9-9. However, Virginia would regain the edge five minutes later when O’Malley netted her third goal in the game with 4:48 remaining and held off a late Duke rally for the overall 10-9 victory.
Virginia will face top seed Maryland Sunday, April 27, at 1 p.m. in the championship match. The Terrapins defeated North Carolina 6-4 in the other semifinal match Friday.