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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 11 Virginia women’s lacrosse team closed out its regular season Saturday afternoon, dropping an 8-4 contest to No. 5 Northwestern at Klöckner Stadium. The game was evenly matched throughout, with four tied scores, before Northwestern used a four-goal streak in the final six minutes to close out the game. With the loss, the Cavaliers wrap up their regular season with an overall record of 9-8, while Northwestern improves to 15-2.

The game marked the final regular season contest for seniors Liz Downs, Molly McClintic, Boyd Vicars and Marghi Walters.

Junior Charlie Finnigan led Virginia with two goals, while classmate Josie Owen notched one goal and contributed an assist. Sophomore Caroline McTiernan had Virginia’s other score, while junior Julie Gardner dished out two assists.

Kat DeRonda scored two goals for Northwestern, while six other Wildcats notched one each.

Defensively for the Cavaliers, junior Bailey Fogarty had two ground balls and one caused turnover, while Gardner had two ground balls, three draw controls and one caused turnover. Redshirt junior Ainsley Baker caused two turnovers, while freshman Maddy Keeshan had two ground balls and one draw control.

Owen got the scoring started in the game, notching her 40th goal of the season at 28:39 to improve her scoring streak to 21-straight games with a goal. Northwestern then rallied for its first lead of the game, 2-1, at 25:12 following a free position goal from Kara Mupo and an unassisted score from Jessica Russo.

That would be all that the Cavaliers’ defense would allow the Wildcats to score until the 27:31 mark of the second half though. Meanwhile, McTiernan scored for the Cavaliers at the 24-minute mark to even the score at two, before Finnigan fired a shot from Owen into the back of the net at 19:14 to give Virginia a 3-2 halftime advantage.

Virginia’s defense anchored the Cavaliers through the opening half, with sophomore goalkeeper Kim Kolarik earning four saves, while giving up just two goals.

Northwestern opened the scoring in the second half at 27:31 and tacked on a second at 16:06 to take its first lead since the 25:12 mark of the opening stanza, 4-3.

But Virginia, scoreless for over 23 minutes, had an answer, as Gardner found Finnigan for a score with 6:31 to play, knotting the score at four all.

That didn’t quiet the Wildcats though, as Northwestern rattled off back-to-back goals within two minutes to earn a 6-4 advantage with 4:05 to play.

Northwestern’s seventh score came on an open net with 1:06 on the clock, as Virginia attempted to break the Wildcats’ stall. DoRonda then scored as time expired to bring the final score to 8-4.

Northwestern entered the game leading the NCAA in draw controls, averaging 17.25 per game. The Wildcats also rank sixth nationally in scoring offense, averaging 14.88 goals per contest. Virginia led Northwestern, 7-6, in draw controls today, while the Cavaliers’ defense held the Wildcats well below their season average in goals scored.

Virginia will now await word on its postseason fate. The 2011 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship selection announcement will be made Sunday, May 8. will air a selection show at 7:30 p.m.

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