Picking up the first four draw controls, Virginia wasted no time scoring with a 4-0 run in the first two minutes of the contest. UVA won 12 of 16 draws in the first half and led by as many as nine goals, 11-2. Virginia had an 11-4 lead at the half, but Syracuse outscored the Cavaliers 12-4 in the second half to win.
“It was a well-played game on our part,” head coach Julie Myers said. “We started off strong with draw controls and our defense did a nice job of making stops. The second half was a little bit different. Syracuse did a nice job of coming up with some draws and scoring early and they just plugged away. We made some good plays. I think we got better as a team today, but when it came down to it, a couple of their players made some big plays and ended up with one more goal at exactly the right time. I’m proud of the girls effort and their fight.”
The Cavaliers had six players score goals and five with assists. Junior Kasey Behr (Northport, N.Y.) and sophomore Maggie Jackson (Alexandria, Va.) led UVA with four goals each and Behr added an assist for a team-high five points. Jackson added five draw controls and three ground balls. Devon Parker had a game-high five goals for Syracuse.
UVA finished with an 18-14 advantage in draw controls, but Syracuse had 10 in the second half and took 24 shots to 14. The Orange had 19 ground balls to 13 and scored five goals on 12 free position shots to six attempts for Virginia.
Junior Rachel Vander Kolk tallied a season-high 11 saves, while Asa Goldstock had six for Syracuse.
Virginia was on the board first with a goal by Jackson less than a minute into the contest, and Jackson scored her second just 30 seconds later. On the third draw control senior Kelly Reese (Severna Park, Md.) was fouled to earn a free position shot, which she converted to put UVA up 3-0.
Reese then found freshman Sammy Mueller (Pelham, N.Y.), who nailed a shot as she was falling down to put the Cavaliers in front 4-0 with 28:00 left in the first. Virginia extended its lead to 5-0 after senior Besser Dyson (Alexandria, Va.) picked up a ground ball and found sophomore Avery Shoemaker (Wyndmoor, Pa.) for a fast-break goal at the 23:14 mark in the first.
The Cavaliers held Syracuse scoreless until the 21:46 mark of the game. After Syracuse scored its first goal of the day, the Cavaliers hit right back as Behr found senior Posey Valis (Baltimore, Md.) in the middle for a goal to make it 6-1 with 20:27remaining in the first. Reese found Mueller for the second time then connected with a wide-open Jackson to give the Cavaliers a 9-1 advantage. Syracuse picked up the ensuing draw and a foul inside the arc led to a free position goal to make it 9-2.
The Cavaliers added to their lead, 10-2, as Shoemaker found the net with the shot clock expiring on an assist from Reese. Behr tacked on her second goal of the afternoon at the 5:22 mark to give the Cavaliers an 11-2 lead. Syracuse scored two-straight goals to cut it to 11-4 going into the half.
Syracuse continued its run with three-straight goals to open the second half and cut the lead to 11-7. Shoemaker put the Cavaliers on the board at 23:02 with her third goal of the day, marking her first career hat trick, as UVA led 12-7. The Orange mounted another 3-0 run to cut it to 12-10.
Jackson earned the ensuing draw to give the Cavaliers possession. Shoemaker then found Behr running through the middle to put UVA ahead 13-10. Syracuse won the next draw, but Vander Kolk caused a turnover that put Virginia back on offense. Valis found Jackson, who netted her fourth goal of the day to make it 14-10 with 13:03 to play.
Syracuse quickly responded with Devon Parker scoring her fourth goal of the day to keep it within three, 14-11, at the 12:23 mark. Syracuse then scored two-straight goals to cut it to one. Behr put the Cavaliers ahead 15-13 with a free position goal with 9:11 remaining on the clock.
The Orange tied the game 15-15 with two goals in 11 seconds and scored the game winner with 4:06 remaining and held on for the win.
Virginia will close out its road trip at No. 2 North Carolina on Saturday, March 11 with opening draw set for noon in Chapel Hill, N.C.