NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Cavaliers struck first, but the Orange pulled away down the stretch as eighth-seeded Virginia (30-22, 8-16 ACC) fell to ninth-seeded Syracuse (24-25-1, 7-15-1 ACC) by a score of 8-2 in the first round of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday (May 10).

Tori Gilbert put the Hoos on the board in the first inning with a sac fly to left with two in scoring position and one out. Back-to-back singles put two on before a sac bunt from Katie Goldberg moved them into scoring position. Kelly Ayer scored on the fly ball from Gilbert for the first run of the game.

The Hoos pushed a second run home in the third with an RBI groundout to first from Goldberg that scored Lauren VanAssche. The centerfielder reached on a bunt single before advancing on a groundout from Ayer and a single to right from Jade Hylton to set up the score.

Syracuse tied it up in the fourth with a two-run home run from Madison Knight.

The Orange took the lead in the fifth when a fielding error at second allowed a run to come home from third. A leadoff single put a runner on before she advanced to third on a sac bunt and a single.

The Cavaliers loaded the bases in the fifth after a leadoff triple from VanAssche, but Syracuse turned a double play to get out of the inning and keep the Hoos off the board.

The Orange would add three more runs in the sixth and two additional runs in the seventh to take the 8-2 victory over the Hoos.

Jenny Bressler (7-4) took the loss in relief as she allowed one run on two hits with two walks in 1.1 innings of work. Bressler entered the game in the fourth inning with two on and two outs in a tie game.

Madison Knight (14-8) picked up the win, allowing the two runs on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts as she worked the complete game.


  • The Cavaliers used five pitchers on the afternoon in the game against the Orange.
  • Kelly Ayer went 2-for-3 on the afternoon with a walk to lead the Cavaliers, while Lauren VanAssche also went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a triple.
  • Virginia finished the year with 30 wins for the first time since 2010 and the second time since the 2005 season.
  • It was Virginia’s fourth appearance at the ACC Tournament in the last six tournaments (2020 was canceled due to COVID) and 26th overall appearance for the program.
  • The Cavaliers had two players named to All-ACC teams prior to first pitch with Eden Bigham named a third-team and freshman team selection while Jade Hylton was named a freshman team selection.

“It’s always disappointing when the season ends in a loss, but only one team ends the season with a win. We appreciate our fourth and fifth year class – what they committed to and what they’ve done for us. There’s a lot of benchmarks we’ve met this year and a lot of things we’ve accomplished. This is the first group that committed to me so it’s a full circle moment for me. I’m proud of them and our team for how they’ve elevated our program, but we’re pretty hungry and there is a fire in the belly. We’ll do some evaluation, do some reflection and come back to continue build on the foundation this class set.”