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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 7 Virginia women’s lacrosse team saw its second-half rally fall short Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field, as the No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels escaped with an 8-7 victory over the Cavaliers in an Atlantic Coast Conference match-up. With the loss, the Cavaliers fall to 3-3 on the season and 0-2 in the ACC, while North Carolina improves to 5-2 overall and 1-0 in league play.

Junior Charlie Finnigan led the Cavaliers with three goals and one assist, while junior Josie Owen had one goal and two assists. Classmate Julie Gardner tacked on one goal and one assist, while redshirt junior Ainsley Baker and freshman Maddy Keeshan each tallied one goal.

For North Carolina, Abbey Friend had three goals, while Laura Zimmerman added two goals and one assist. Corey Donohoe, Sarah Kuonen and Kara Cannizzaro rounded out the scoring with one score each.

The Tar Heels got out to a 6-2 lead 18 minutes into play after Donohoe converted a free position shot. Cannizzaro got the scoring started in the game at 27:15, before Gardner found Baker cutting from up top of the arc for a score at 24:28. The goal knotted the score at 1-1 and marked the 13th-straight game Baker has had a goal for the Cavaliers.

North Carolina responded with two-consecutive goals, before Finnigan drew a defender and dished a pass to an open Keeshan – who scored at 20:01. That wouldn’t quiet the Tar Heels though, as they scored another three-straight to earn a 6-2 advantage.

Owen converted a free position shot at 10:18 to bring the score to 6-3, before one final Tar Heel goal gave North Carolina a 7-3 halftime advantage.

The Cavaliers regrouped during the intermission and scored the first four goals of the second half. Gardner started the scoring at 22:41, before Finnigan knotted the game at seven all with her third-straight goal at 10:59.

North Carolina broke the stalemate and regained the lead, 8-7, at 7:25, before stalling the next five minutes.

Gardner entered the defensive end for the Cavaliers and caused a turnover to give Virginia a chance to even the score with 1:37 left to play, but Lauren Maksym would come up huge in cage for the Tar Heels, stopping Virginia’s final attempt and allowing North Carolina to escape with an 8-7 victory.

Owen won five draw controls for the Cavaliers, while Keeshan and Gardner had four ground balls each. Sophomore goalkeeper Kim Kolarik earned nine saves.

Virginia will return to action on Wednesday, as it returns home to host No. 19 William & Mary. Opening draw is slated for 7 p.m., in Klöckner Stadium.

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