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Junior Josie Owen has returned to Virginia’s starting lineup after an ACL injury cut her season short last year. The attacker from Gibson Island, Md., is among 10 Cavaliers who have scored this season for UVa. She has notched 13 points on eight goals and five assists. Owen has scored in each of the last seven games that she’s played in for the Cavaliers – including all three this season.

Owen will look to extend that streak when the Cavaliers host their first two home games of the season this weekend. The 2010 NCAA Champions and No. 1 ranked Maryland Terrapins visit Klöckner Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m., while Virginia will face Penn State on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Question: You missed the end of last season with a knee injury. How good does it feel to be back out playing?
Owen: It feels great! I’d like to say that it feels like I never even hurt my knee, but that would be ignoring the hard few months I had after I hurt it. I am just so happy that I am healthy, along with my other two ACL buddies, Ainsley [Baker] and Bailey [Fogarty].

Question: What was the biggest thing you learned from being on the sideline?
Owen: As dorky as it sounds, I learned to appreciate lacrosse even more. To be honest, playing every single day for such a long stretch of time kind of makes you dull to how much you love the sport. When I came back from being on the sideline, I remembered why I love lacrosse so much and why I invest so much time and energy in it. I looked forward to any chance that I had to play.

Question: The attack has really come together the past two games to put up some big, but balanced, numbers. What is it like to play with so many people who have the ability to score, rather than having a go-to player?
Owen: It is amazing! Everyone on the field is a threat and if someone is not having the best game, their other teammates are there to pick up the slack. It takes a lot of pressure off of one or two people when everyone can score. And when we do score, all of us get so excited. It is the most exciting thing about being on a team. The energy and excitement we have when any one of us succeeds is just great.

Question: Syracuse’s goalkeeper Liz Hogan was the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year last year, but Virginia was able to score 21 goals on 36 shots last Sunday. What would you attribute to that sort of success?
Owen: I think that we came into the game with confidence and determination. We had something to prove, especially offensively because we didn’t shoot well at Loyola, so we kind of just let it rip. Plus, when your first shots go in, the energy and excitement on the team goes up and then everyone plays better and it’s more fun. It’s kind of a positive feedback system.

Question: What would you say is the strength of this year’s offense?
Owen: I think we are all pretty athletic, dynamic and skilled. We know each other well, work well together and really enjoy each other’s company on and off the field. I think that does great things for our chemistry on the field. We also respect each other and listen to each other, which is extremely important.

Question: Is there a defender out there that you hate to match up against?
Owen: All of our defenders are SO great. They all push us in practice in different ways. Liz Downs is probably my least favorite though. Her footwork and body positioning are unlike anything I have ever played against. She definitely makes me better whether I like it or not. All of our defenders do!

Question: If you could change one rule in women’s lacrosse, what would you change?
Owen: That is tough. It differs every day, with every ref. I would just like to see a little more consistency from game to game with what the officials are calling. One day the game will be rough and we can’t get a call, and the next the whistle will be blowing every two seconds, which is frustrating.

Question: You said at the beginning of your first year that one of the things you hoped to accomplish before you graduate was to make it to an athletic event for every sport at UVa. How are you coming with that?
Owen: Surprisingly well! I think I have made it to all but two or three team’s competitions. My roommate, Mel [Mitchell], is on the softball team, so I definitely need to go see her kick some butt. And I still need to see a track and field meet and volleyball match. But other than that, I think I am almost there.

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