Women’s lacrosse: Big second half lifts Virginia past JMU

virginia lacrosseThe No. 13 Virginia women’s lacrosse team (5-5, 0-3 ACC) snapped a four-game losing skid with a 10-9 victory over James Madison on Wednesday night at Klöckner Stadium.

Virginia was down 6-3 at the half, but outscored JMU 7-3 in the second period to defeat the Dukes. Sophomore Kasey Behr (Northport, N.Y.) scored both of the go-ahead goals with the game tied in the final 12 minutes of play.

“It is so much better to win and to win a close game is really exciting,” said Virginia head coach Julie Myers. “Every play really mattered and every player was able to step up and do something. I think it is great for our confidence and team morale, and just getting back to having fun again.”

Behr, junior Posey Valis (Baltimore, Md.), junior Kelly Reese (Severna Park, Md.) and senior Kelly Boyd (Baltimore, Md.) each scored two goals to lead Virginia. Junior Besser Dyson (Alexandria, Va.) and freshman Avery Shoemaker (Wyndmoor, Pa.) each had one goal.

UVA outshot JMU 18-17, tallying 14 of those in the second half. The Dukes had an 11-10 edge in draw controls and seven saves to four for the Cavaliers. JMU scored five of its nine goals on free position shots.

Virginia forced eight turnovers for JMU and committed just six, all in the first half. Both teams finished with six ground balls.

“I thought our girls did a great job of fighting for ground balls and draw controls, two stats that we really turned around in that second half,” Myers added. “We played clean without turning the ball over in the second half and that made all the difference in the world.”

Virginia fell behind early as James Madison got on the board first with a goal at the 26:37 mark. Boyd netted her first goal of the game tie it at 1-1, but JMU scored three-straight to take a 4-1 lead with 16:35left in the half. Each team scored two more goals as JMU took a 6-3 lead into halftime.

The Cavaliers came out strong in the second half with back-to-back goals from Valis and Reese to cut JMU’s lead to one, 6-5 with 24:45 left on the clock. The Dukes stretched the lead back to 7-5, until a 3-0 run capped off by a goal from Shoemaker gave the Cavaliers their first lead of the game, 8-7.

The game was tied up at 8-8 when Behr scored her first goal of the game to put UVA ahead 9-8 with 8:25to play. Brooks Lawler scored her third goal, a game-high, for JMU to tie it up with 5:37 left. Behr scored the game-winner with 3:04 left as the Cavaliers were able to hold off the Dukes in the final minutes.

Virginia is on the road in ACC play on Saturday, March 26 against No. 15 Duke at 3:30 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3. The Cavaliers will then return home to host Boston College on Saturday, April 2 on Senior Day.

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