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May 10, 2010
6:48 a.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — About 70 minutes after the UVa men’s lacrosse team learned that it would face Mount St. Mary’s in the NCAA tournament’s first round, the bracket for the women’s tourney was unveiled on CBS College Sports.

Virginia, seeded No. 6, will host Towson this Sunday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium.

Coach Julie Myers and her team spent most of the weekend in Baltimore, where the funeral service for Yeardley Love was held Saturday.

Myers phoned in to the NCAA selection show late Sunday night and talked to its hosts, including Sheehan Stanwick Burch, whose brother Steele Stanwick plays for the UVa men’s team. Some of Myers’ comments follow.

*On how her team is holding up:

“I think we’re actually doing pretty well, all things considered. We just had a really great weekend: a very uplifting, very hopeful weekend up in Baltimore with the Love family and everyone else who’s been struck by this. But our team is staying together. We’ve spent lots and lots of time with each other. I think the greatest part is they’ve been able to cry when they want to, and they’ve been able to laugh and feel good about that.

“It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster, but all things told, lacrosse brought us together, and we want to make sure we use lacrosse to keep us together.”

*On her team’s decision to play in the NCAA tournament:

“As a team we got together a bunch of different times, just trying to figure out what comes next. At the beginning of the week, we just took a day at a time, literally. We were together, obviously, on Monday morning, and we needed to reconvene that evening. So many parents came back down, which was great. So the second time we saw our kids, we had their family support there in the room too, so we kind of walked through it together.

“Tuesday we were able to actually go over to a family’s home for lunch and had another chance to be together, and we just started talking about, ‘What do you think? What comes next, and what do you think about playing?’ The kids were all really sure that not only would Yeards want us to play, the Love family would want us to play, and they really wanted to do it, to be closer to Yeards and to just keep us together again. So it was part of our healing process, but certainly the kids expressed an interest to keep this going. The Love family, they were shocked that they were even asked if we were going to continue going.

“All things told, everything was up for it. We didn’t really know what the next day would bring, but again, we’ve come through it with a lot of sadness and certainly a tremendous amount of loss, but also a lot of hope and love.”

*On the process of returning to a more familiar routine:

“We started putting those pieces back together last week. The kids had asked on Wednesday if we could practice on Thursday, and we said we would do it. So as many kids who were up for the challenge went out on the field on Thursday. And it was pretty hard. Different people broke down at different times, and some kids were [asking], ‘Are we doing the right thing?’

“Friday was significantly better. And then today we were lucky enough to get approval from the NCAA to have a practice up at Notre Dame Prep, where Yeardley went to high school. So we had about 40 alumni, about 70 of their parents, our team, all of our [players’] parents, and we had a big practice at Notre Dame Prep. Our alumni were so great. They had so much fun just catching up with each other, and they just really wanted to help. So I think that we’re kind of building back to normalcy. I think it’ll be a new normal. It won’t be anything that we’re used to. But I think our spirits are good, lots of people have come out from all areas and all corners of the world, trying to help us out and give us support.

“This week it’s figuring out [final] exams and when we can practice, but I think our kids are ready to try to give this a shot. They know if we [beat Towson], we get another week together. And if you were lucky enough to win the next week, you get another week together. So right now we’re playing in honor of Yeards, and we’re just playing to keep this team together through this mourning process.”

*On her memories of Yeardley:

“She was funny, and actually over the last few days, more and more kids are talking about the ‘remember whens.’ But she had the ease and grace of like no one you’ve ever met. She had the ability to just make everyone feel good and feel like they were in the right spot doing the right thing. So I don’t know if I have any one favorite story. Just her eyes. I will always remember her eyes and her smile, because she is the nicest kid you could ever meet. Her willingness to do anything and what she brings to a group, it’s hard to describe, but she is one of a kind.”

Jeff White

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