Virginia and North Carolina to Battle in First Round of NCAA Tournament Saturday
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 14 Virginia women’s lacrosse team will head to No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday for an NCAA Tournament first round game. The contest will be played at Fetzer Field at 1 p.m. Live statistics will be available at VirginiaSports.com.
North Carolina earned an at-large bid and the No. 3-seed in the tournament with a 13-5 record this year. The unseeded Cavaliers (9-8) were also an at-large selection and will be making their 16th-straight appearance in the tournament – the second-longest active streak in the nation. This will also be Virginia’s 24th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, trailing only Maryland’s 26 appearances.
Under head coach Julie Myers, the Cavaliers have advanced to the NCAA Tournament all 16 years she has been at the helm of the program – the longest active streak in the nation for a Division I head coach. That span also ties former Maryland head coach Cindy Timchal (1991-2006) for the longest streak in NCAA history. Myers’ squads hold an overall record of 22-14 in the tournament and won the NCAA title in 2004.
In the 30-year history of the NCAA Tournament, the Cavaliers hold an overall record of 29-20, have advanced to the final game of the tournament on nine occasions and have won three national championships – 1991, 1993 and 2004.
When facing the Tar Heels in the tournament, Virginia is 1-4.
Saturday’s game will mark the third time that the Cavaliers and Tar Heels have faced each other this year. It will also be the eighth time in the 16-year history of the series the programs have met more than once in the same season and the third time they have met three times in the same year (1997 and 2007).
Earlier this year, the Tar Heels defeated the Cavaliers, 8-7, during the regular season (March 12) in Chapel Hill, N.C., before they knocked Virginia out of the ACC Tournament with a 16-5 victory (April 21) in Cary, N.C.
With the wins, North Carolina earned a slight 14-12 advantage in the all-time series and extended its win streak over the Cavaliers to three-straight games. The Tar Heels defeated Virginia 17-7 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year in Chapel Hill.
All-ACC performers Liz Downs and Julie Gardner lead Virginia this year. Downs, a senior All-American, anchors the defense with 32 ground balls, 19 draw controls and 22 caused turnovers. Gardner, a junior attacker, paces the offense with a team-best 27 assists and 59 points. Classmates Josie Owen and Charlie Finnigan have also reached the 50-point plateau, as Owen has 40 goals and 16 assists for 56 points, while Finnigan has a team-best 42 goals and 55 points.
North Carolina is led by a trio of All-ACC performers – Corey Dohonoe, Mia Hurrin and Laura Zimmerman. Donohoe leads the team with 47 goals and 49 draw controls, while Zimmerman is third on the team with 44 points. Mia Hurrin leads the defense with 24 ground balls.
The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the quarterfinal round to face the winner of sixth-seeded Loyola vs. Massachusetts next weekend. The semifinals and finals of this year’s NCAA Tournament are scheduled for May 27 and 29 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook, N.Y.