#5 UVa. women's lax honors Love, then holds off Penn State
The No. 5 Virginia women’s lacrosse team (2-2, 0-1 ACC) won a unique game against Penn State Sunday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium and the University Hall Turf Field, 10-5. The contest, in addition to a pregame ceremony to honor and remember Yeardley Love, began in the rain at Klöckner Stadium, before field conditions caused the game to be relocated to the turf field for the remainder of the second half.
Redshirt junior Ainsley Baker extended her consecutive-game scoring streak to 12-straight contests with the game’s first goal at 28:11, before sophomore Annie Thomas gave Virginia a 2-0 lead at 27:55.
Penn State (1-4) responded with a goal at 27:10, before sophomore goalkeeper Kim Kolarik turned away a Nittany Lion shot and heaved the ball up field to Baker, who worked to find junior Charlie Finnigan in front of the cage for a score at 24:59, giving Virginia a 3-1 advantage.
Another score from Penn State cut Virginia’s lead to one, 3-2, before a four-goal run gave the Cavaliers a 7-2 advantage. Baker started the streak at 21:02, before junior Josie Owen scored off a feed from classmate Julie Gardner at 18:06. Owen then returned the favor to Gardner, as Gardner fired a shot into the net at 13:44. Baker capped off the run, converting a free position shot at 9:37 to mark the fourth hat trick of her career – second of the year.
The Nittany Lions were able to break the Cavaliers’ run with two-straight goals before the end of the half, cutting Virginia’s lead to three, at 7-4, heading into the intermission.
With the rain picking up at the beginning of the second half and field conditions worsening, Finnigan was able to fight through Penn State’s defense to get the Cavaliers on the board first at 23:56. But almost one-and-a-half minutes later, with 22:29 on the clock and Virginia leading 8-4, the game would be put in a rail delay and moved to the turf field.
Play resumed after almost an hour break and it would be Penn State who would find the back of the net first, doing so at the 21:30 mark. That would ultimately end up being the final goal of the game for the Nittany Lions, as Baker became the first Cavalier to score a goal at Klöckner Stadium and the University Hall Turf Field in the same game – assisted by freshman Maddy Keeshan – at 20:25. Finnigan then tacked on the games final goal at 5:56 to bring the final score to 10-5.
Kolarik tied a career-high in saves for the Cavaliers with 11, while sophomore Megan Dunleavy and Keeshan shared team-high honors with four ground balls each. Keeshan also caused three turnovers, while senior All-American Liz Downs had two caused turnovers and two ground balls and freshman Lauren Goerz had two caused turnovers.
Offensively, Baker led the way with a game-high five points on four goals and one assist. Finnigan added three goals for the Cavaliers, while Gardner, Owen and Thomas each finished with one. Gardner also dished out three assists, while Keeshan and Owen each had one.
Defensively, the Cavaliers stepped up and didn’t allow any Nittany Lions to score more than one goal. Mary Dean led the way with one goal and one assist, while Jackie Eastman, Molly Fernandez, Jen Steadman and Theresa Zichelli each had one score.
In a ceremony prior to the start of the game, the Virginia women’s lacrosse program permanently retired its number one in honor and remembrance of Yeardley Love. In addition, Virginia’s Class of 2010 – Kaitlin Duff, Whit Hagerman, Brittany Kalkstein, Marye Kellermann and Caity Whiteley – returned to raise a flag that will fly in honor of Love at all women’s lacrosse home games played at Klöckner Stadium.