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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia women’s lacrosse team struggled to fight off a pesky North Carolina team Sunday afternoon in Klckner Stadium, falling 11-7 to the Tar Heels in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“North Carolina had a great game today,” head coach Julie Myers said. “They came in and played tough all over the field. They made their shots count when they needed to and we, in return, had stretches where we were really ready to play. But, Carolina did a great job at answering back when they really needed to dig in and stop our goal scoring and get back on the board for themselves. They definitely came in and played sharp today.”

Juniors Jenny Hauser, Ashley McCulloch and Blair Weymouth led the Cavaliers’ attack with two goals apiece, while sophomore Kaitlin Duff contributed one score. Sophomore Brittany Kalkstein added two assists.

Defensively, senior Claire Bordley collected four ground balls. Kalkstein caused four turnovers and junior Katie Shannon had three. Kalkstein and McCulloch each won three draw controls.

For North Carolina, Corey Donohoe scored five goals, while Megan Bosica had two goals and three assists.

To open the game, the Cavaliers forced a North Carolina timeout after jumping out to a 2-0 lead by the 25:13 mark. Hauser opened scoring at the 28:05 mark and a free position score from McCulloch at 25:13 made it 2-0 in favor of Virginia.

The Cavaliers extended their lead to 3-0 on a crisp transition after winning a draw control and found Duff open for a score in front of the cage at 24:54.

Charlottesville native Meg Freshwater then sparked a string of six-straight Carolina goals, with a score at 23:13. Corey Donohoe tallied a second-straight for the Tar Heels, before Jenn Russell knotted the score at three all by 15:33.

Chelsea Parks scored at 12:21 to give North Carolina its first lead of the contest and back-to-back scores from Donohoe pushed the Tar Heels ahead 6-3 leading into halftime.

The Cavaliers came out of the intermission tallying two scores within the first four minutes. McCulloch notched her second goal of the day at 27:41 and Weymouth scored her first at 26:32, cutting Carolina’s lead to one, 7-6.

Kristen Taylor answered for the Tar Heels at 23:57 though, and the next 15 minutes remained scoreless. Megan Bosica ended the drought with a goal for Carolina at the 9:13 mark, giving the Tar Heels an 8-5 advantage.

Hauser fired a goal from Kalkstein at 7:26 to start a flurry of five back-and-forth goals within 1:20 of each other. Bosica responded to Hauser’s score 16 seconds after the Cavaliers’ goal. Kalkstein then assisted Weymouth at the 7:02 mark in attempts to spark a comeback rally.

But that’s as close as Virginia would get, as Dohohoe rallied for the Tar Heels, firing two shots into the net within 40 seconds of each other. The back-to-back goals pushed Carolina ahead 11-7 and were enough to advance the Tar Heels to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Any great season that comes to an end is hard, whether it’s a championship day or a first round,” Myers said. “I want these girls to remember all of the great games that we played and obviously the ACC Tournament when we came from behind and showed a lot of heart and determination to win it.”

Today’s game also wrapped up the careers of five Cavaliers. Fifth-year Kaitlin Swagart is the lone player to have won a national championship, while Claire Bordley, Alice Hughey, Kendall McBrearty and Megan O’Malley wrap up their four years with three ACC Championships, a 65-17 overall record and four NCAA Tournament appearances.

“This senior class has meant so much to our program,” Myers said. “They really set the tone for us. They have worked hard and they have done everything that we’ve asked of them. They’re great leaders. Over the course of their four and five years, they’ve had a lot of great moments in there and only a very few heartbreaking ones.”

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