Women’s lacrosse: Virginia tops Elon to advance to NCAA Second Round
The Virginia women’s lacrosse team (12-8) advanced to the NCAA second round with an 11-9 victory over Elon (13-7) on Friday (May 12) at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“It’s always great to come in to a first-round game and get a win,” head coach Julie Myers said. “I think we did just enough. We played some great moments of lacrosse and had some moments that were not so great, but at the end of the day we came out with the win. We will get better tomorrow and face a great North Carolina team come Sunday.”
Virginia jumped on the board quickly with the first four goals of the contest. The Cavaliers never trailed in the game and led by as many as six. Elon cut the lead to as close as two in the final 10 seconds, but Virginia remained in control.
Sophomores Maggie Jackson (Alexandria, Va.) and Avery Shoemaker (Wyndmoor, Pa.) paced the offense for the Cavaliers. Jackson finished with four goals, while Shoemaker had three goals and an assist. Six different players scored goals for UVA. Jacie Cooped led Elon with three goals.
Junior goalkeeper Rachel Vander Kolk (Severna Park, Md.) had a solid day in the net with 12 saves. Freshman midfielder Sammy Mueller (Pelham, N.Y.) picked up seven ground balls and senior defender Wyatt Whitley (Alexandria, Va.) had three caused turnovers.
Virginia opened the game with a 4-0 run. After back-to-back saves by Vander Kolk, the Cavaliers made a fast break run down the field as Jackson connected with senior Kelly Reese (Severna Park, Md.) who found a wide-open Shoemaker for the first goal of the game at the 25:49 mark. Jackson then dodged several Elon defenders for a goal as Virginia took a 2-0 lead. Reese added to the run after ripping a shot into the net with the assist from senior Posey Valis (Baltimore, Md.) as UVA led 3-0 with 20:00 to play in the first half. UVA picked up the ensuing draw and Valis converted a free position opportunity just 22 seconds later to put the Cavaliers up 4-0. Elon scored its first goal at the 15:44 mark as UVA led 4-1 with 15:44 left in the first.
After nearly a 15-minute scoring draught, Shoemaker found Jackson in the middle for a goal as Virginia took a 5-1 lead with 4:42 to play in the half. The Phoenix scored to cut the lead to 5-2 going into halftime. Vander Kolk had six saves in the first half on 15 shots by Elon.
The Cavaliers wasted no time in the second half, scoring less than a minute into the half. Senior Besser Dyson (Alexandria, Va.) made a move in front of the net to score her first goal of the day with the assist from Reese as UVA went up 6-2. The Cavaliers forced a turnover on the goalie that led to a free position goal for Jackson, then Shoemaker scored on a free position just 43 seconds later as UVA took an 8-2 advantage with 22:57 to play.
Elon scored back-to-back goals in less than two minutes to cut Virginia’s lead to 9-5 with 18:20 on the clock. Neither team scored for almost 10 minutes until Elon added its third-straight goal as Virginia led 9-6 with 9:12 remaining.
UVA had not scored since the 18-minute mark until Jackson found the net to make it 10-6, then Mueller became the sixth different Cavalier to score as she converted a free position for an 11-6 lead with 6:44 remaining. Elon wouldn’t go away as it scored two-straight goals to make it 11-8 with 4:44 to play. Elon scored its final goal with 10 seconds to play to make it 11-9.
Virginia took 24 shots to 37 for Elon. The Phoenix had a 25-24 edge in ground balls and led 14-8 in draw controls. The Cavaliers converted 4-of-6 free position opportunities.