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When members of the current Cavalier senior class arrived on Grounds for the 2009 season as freshmen, the senior class above them had won three-consecutive ACC Championships and played in the 2007 NCAA title game.

Now facing her final season, senior Josie Owen points to that as motivation for this year’s Virginia women’s lacrosse team.

“It’s now or never,” Owen says. “Any senior class would feel this way. It hits you, especially in preseason, this is the last first game, this is the last preseason. We’re not going to have this chance again. That sense of urgency is really important. We haven’t been as successful as some other Virginia teams. That is driving us more so than maybe other teams that have been more successful in the past. That’s a big motivator.”

Owen is doing her part on the offensive end, leading Virginia in points (51), goals (22) and assists (29) heading into tonight’s game vs. Harvard. The do-everything captain also leads the squad in draw controls (28) and is second in ground balls (17).

Those numbers stack up nationally among the best players in the nation. Prior to this season, Owen was named to the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List, awarded to collegiate lacrosse’s top player.

A native of Gibson Island, Md., Owen is a self-described emotional player, but she also points out her attention to detail as one of her biggest assets on the lacrosse field.

“I try to pay attention to my teammates,” Owen says. “I like knowing where they like to play and what they like to do and what play they like to make. I try to react to that and set them up for success.”

Owen and her senior classmates were all highly recruited, but in some ways are just finding their stride as Cavaliers. Owen suffered a knee injury her sophomore season after playing in 14 games that year.

She came back in 2011 and started all 18 of the Cavaliers’ contests, scoring 40 goals and adding 16 assists, but says it took time to fully recover.

“I was hitting my stride my sophomore year and then I tore my ACL after the best game I ever played in college (at Virginia Tech),” Owen says. “It’s taken me this amount of time to get back in the swing of everything. Mentally, physically, with fitness and game sets. It’s rough taking seven months off. And there is that sense of urgency that makes a difference.”

Head coach Julie Myers compares Owen’s role to a point guard in basketball or a quarterback in football.

“I pride myself on understanding how the play develops,” Owen says. “I understand the game well.”
Owen will take that ‘lacrosse IQ’ with her to graduate school at Denver after graduation. She has plans to be a volunteer assistant with the women’s lacrosse program while pursuing her master’s degree in strategic communication.

For now though, Owen and her senior teammates are looking to ride the momentum the Cavaliers have created over the last five games and continue to surge as they head into the conference tournament (being held in Durham, N.C., April 20-23).

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