May 14, 2017
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 13 Virginia women’s lacrosse team (12-9) fell 23-12 to No. 2 North Carolina (17-2) in the NCAA Championship Second Round on Sunday (May 14) afternoon at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
After a 2-0 run to start the game for North Carolina, Virginia cut it to 2-1 but the Tar Heels used a 7-1 run to extended their lead to 9-2. The Cavaliers scored four of the next seven goals to go into halftime down 12-6. North Carolina opened the second half on a 4-0 run, but UVA fought back with a 3-1 run to make it 17-9 with 18 minutes left. However, UNC would use several more runs to remain in control and take the 23-12 win.
“It was a tough game against a really talented team in North Carolina,” head coach Julie Myers said. “They did a great job of winning possession off the draw and having so many opportunities to get to goal. They are one of the best attacking teams in the country and they proved it today. I am disappointed we didn’t come up with a few more of those draws and 50/50 balls to see what we could do, but give Carolina credit for pulling that off and making it look like a lot of fun.”
Seniors paced the offense for Virginia, led by Besser Dyson (Alexandria, Va.) with three goals and an assist. Posey Valis (Baltimore, Md.) added two goals and an assist, while Kelly Reese (Severna Park, Md.) finished with two goals.
Junior goalkeeper Rachel Vander Kolk (Severna Park, Md.) finished with 11 saves, eight ground balls and two caused turnovers. Sophomore Avery Shoemaker (Wyndmoor, Pa.) had a team-high six draw controls.
North Carolina scored the opening two goals of the game to lead 2-0 at the 23:52 mark in the first half. Virginia got on the board with a goal by Dyson on the assist from sophomore Maggie Jackson (Alexandria, Va.) to cut it to 2-1 with 19:35 left in the first half. UNC responded with four-straight goals to lead 6-1 at 16:18.
Virginia halted the Tar Heel run when Dyson found Jackson streaking towards the goal as she found the net to make it 6-2 with 14:07 left in the first. UNC added three more goals to extend its lead to 9-2. Jackson found Dyson again as the attacker reached around her defender to score and cut UNC’s lead to 9-3 with 9:52 on the clock. That combination happened again as Dyson picked up a hat trick and Jackson dished out her third assist to make it 9-4 with 6:30 left in the first. UNC scored back-to-back goals to lead 11-4.
Valis spun by the UNC defender for a goal to cut the North Carolina lead to 11-5 at the 5:43 mark. Sophomore defender Kaitlin Luzik (Alexandria, Va.) cleared the ball then saw space as she dodged UNC’s defense to score her first career goal as Virginia cut it to 11-6. The Tar Heels responded once again to hold a 12-6 advantage at halftime.
After a 4-0 run for North Carolina to open the second half, Virginia halted the Tar Heels’ momentum when junior Kasey Behr (Northport, N.Y.) converted a free position opportunity to cut North Carolina’s lead to 16-7 with 24:03 to play. North Carolina hit right back after winning the draw to go ahead 17-7.
Valis scored her second goal of the afternoon as Virginia cut it back to 17-8 with 21:40 remaining. The Cavaliers had a 2-0 run as a fast break led to a goal by Shoemaker, cutting it to 17-9. North Carolina scored three-straight to lead 20-9.
Reese scored her first goal of the day to make it 20-10 with 11:24 to play. UNC responded with a goal, before Reese hit a long shot to make it 21-11. Following two goals by the Tar Heels, freshman Sammy Mueller (Pelham, N.Y.) capped off the game with a goal in the final seconds on the assist from Valis for a 23-12 final.
North Carolina had the advantage in shots (45-29), ground balls (21-18) and draw controls (22-15). Both teams finished with 11 saves. The Tar Heels were 6-of-9 from the eight-meter, while Virginia was 1-for-3.
“This was in many ways a great season and a big step forward for our program,” Myers said. “They girls were resilient and they worked incredibly hard. Their teamwork and friendships are exactly what you want as your culture and embrace throughout the course of the season. I think they go into summer the best of friends and hungry to get back on the field and do bigger and better things. I am proud of their effort, of how they came together, how they fought and took steps forward.”