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CHARLOTTESVILLE – The 10th-ranked Virginia women’s lacrosse team opened its 2012 season with a victory over seventh-ranked Loyola, 14-9, Saturday (Feb. 18) afternoon at Klöckner Stadium. Senior attacker Ainsley Baker (Corning, N.Y.) matched a career-high with five goals and fellow senior Josie Owen (Gibson Island, Md.) added one goal and set a career-high with six assists.

Virginia (1-0) won its season-opening game for the first time since the 2009 season and avenged two-consecutive losses at the hands of the Greyhounds (0-1) in the 2010 and 2011 season-openers.

“We’ve been working very hard to get ready for this game and we played consistently well throughout it,” Virginia head coach Julie Myers said. “Lots of players made big plays, and we stayed composed throughout the entire game.”

Freshman Courtney Swan (Vero Beach, Fla.) scored her first collegiate goal and the Cavaliers’ first of the season 57 seconds into the contest to put Virginia up 1-0.

After the first of four Baker-Owen goal-assist combinations at the 28:05 mark, Loyola got on the board with a Cass Cursaro goal at 27:22.

Virginia redshirt freshman Liza Blue (Butler, Md.) found the back of the net at the 24:42 mark to put UVa up, 3-1, but Loyola rattled off three-consecutive goals over the next eight minutes to take a 4-3 lead.

In the remaining 10 minutes of the first half, UVa out-scored the Greyounds 3-1 and took a 6-5 lead into the halftime break.

In the second half, Baker and Owen connected on back-to-back-to-back Virginia scores to give UVa a commanding 9-5 lead at the 19:50 mark.

In all, after goals by Baker, Blue and Charlie Finnigan (Twickenham, Middlesex, England) to open the second half, Virginia scored six unanswered goals to essentially close the door on Loyola with 10:07 left in the game.

After being held scoreless for the first 21 minutes of the second period, Loyola scored back-to-back goals (Molly Hulseman and Hannah Schmitt) but did not get closer than a five-goal deficit down the stretch.

Freshman Jess Loizeaux (Mullica Hill, N.J.) and sophomore Katie Slater (Kensington, Md.) also scored goals for UVa.

Goalkeeper Kim Kolarik (Riva, Md.) played all 60 minutes for UVa and finished with 11 saves.

Virginia held a 29-27 advantage in shots, and an impressive 18-9 advantage in draw controls.

Freshman Daniela Eppler (Towson, Md.) and Kolarik led Virginia with three ground balls apiece. Blue had five draw controls for the Cavaliers.

Up next, Virginia hosts in-state opponent Richmond on Wednesday (Feb. 22) at Klöckner Stadium. The contest is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

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