BLACKSBURG, Va. – A first half run ended up being the difference-maker as the Virginia Tech lacrosse team fell to the No. 15 Virginia Cavaliers, 17-12, in its final game at Thompson Field this season. Despite a 10-minute scoring surge by the Cavaliers in the first half, play remained even throughout the contest. Julia Heaps, Meg Bartley and Megan Will teamed up to pace Tech with three goals apiece, while Courtney Swan led Virginia with five scores.
Although Virginia (9-7, 3-4 ACC) was the first on the board, it didn’t take long for the Hokies (7-8, 0-6 ACC) to take an early lead. Bartley sparked the Tech offense after sophomore Jessi Thon picked up a Cavalier turnover and sent it down field to Bartley to tie the game at one. Will kept the momentum in Tech’s favor when she grabbed a short pass from Heaps and tossed it into the goal as she crossed the middle to give the Hokies their first lead of the game.
Bartley made it a 3-1 game ten minutes in when she attacked from the left side for her second goal of the game. Virginia added a pair of goals over the next five minutes to tie things back up, but sophomore Meghan Macera helped the Hokies capitalize again on a Virginia turnover. This time it was sophomore Gracee Hendrix on the relay to Macera for the score.
With just under 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Virginia began to take control of the game. Kelly Boyd got things started for the Cavaliers when she responded to the Macera score less than 20 seconds later. Virginia won the draw and took it straight to the goal to begin what would be a six-goal run. Both Boyd and Swan tallied three points apiece in the scoring stint that helped the Cavaliers to a 9-5 lead at the half.
Virginia picked things right back up after the break, scoring three straight goals to open the new half. Senior Kelly Naslonski broke things up when she grabbed a rebounded shot and sent one right back at the cage despite contact with her stick.
Heaps refused to let the Hokies back down as the clocked neared the midway point in the second half. She attacked from behind the cage and worked her way in on the Virginia defense for her first goal of the game. She put away nearly the same goal ten minutes later. Will made it back-to-back goals for Tech when she was able to again make the most of a Virginia turnover.
Continuing to battle, Heaps struck again with under five minutes to play, trying to rally for a late run. Macera added to the Tech total and Heaps found Bartley for her third goal of the game with under three minutes to play, but the difference was too much to overcome in the closing minutes.
Tech outshot the Cavaliers 18-11 in the second half, after Virginia held the 17-9 advantage in the first. There was just a one-shot difference by game’s end, going in Virginia’s favor. Both teams committed seven turnovers in the first half, but the Hokies forced Virginia into seven more in the second half while limiting themselves to just two.
Meagh Graham played the full 60 minutes in goal for Tech and finished with six saves. Liz Colgan logged 57 minutes and the start for Virginia, finishing with all 10 of the team’s saves. Britt Brown played the final three minutes of the game.
The Hokies will wrap up the regular season at No. 2 Maryland on Saturday. The noon game will be the last for the Terps as a member of the ACC.
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