April 19, 2009

UVA Falls Short in Bid to Upset Northwestern

from press releases

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 10 Virginia women's lacrosse team battled hard against the top-ranked team in the nation on Sunday afternoon before falling to Northwestern, 11-10, in the regular-season finale for the Cavaliers. The win keeps the Wildcats unbeaten this season, at 15-0, while Virginia moves to 10-6 on the year.

Senior All-American Blair Weymouth led the attack with a game-high four goals and five draw controls, while junior Kaitlin Duff had three, redshirt junior Whitaker Hagerman added two and senior Ashley McCulloch had one. Senior Jenny Hauser, junior Brittany Kalkstein and Duff each added an assist.

For Northwestern, Katrina Dowd led the way with three goals, while Hannah Nielsen scored two goals to go with three assists.

In a fairly even played game, the Cavaliers held the lead with four and a half minutes left before halftime, but a flurry of Wildcat goals erased Northwestern's deficit and gave the ‘Cats a one-goal lead heading into the intermission.

The Wildcats got on the board first at 29:03 and added another at 26:23, before Duff tallied an unassisted score at 24:12.

Hagerman won the ensuing draw control and passed ahead to McCulloch to find Weymouth, who weaved through traffic before converting an unassisted goal to even the score at two all.

Northwestern nipped the chance of a streak with a score at 21:35, but Weymouth's back-to-back goals and then Hagerman's two-straight tallies gave Virginia its largest lead of the game, at 6-3, with 6:21 remaining in the half.

The Wildcats would fight to even the score at six in the next five minutes, before a goal from Nielson with 4.5 seconds remaining secured the halftime advantage for the Wildcats, at 7-6.

McCulloch got the scoring started in the second half, sneaking around cage and finding the back of the net 2:12 into play. Northwestern then tallied another before Weymouth fired her fourth of the contest into the goal at 23:32.

The Wildcats strung together two-straight within a minute and a half following Weymouth's score, but after eight scoreless minutes, Duff notched back-to-back scores to bring the score at 10 all, with 8:30 to play.

The next seven minutes were scoreless, before Nielson snuck around cage and got a shot past redshirt junior Lauren Benner to push Northwestern ahead one, with 1:31 left in the game.

The Cavaliers forced a turnover with 30 seconds remaining and looked to be in the clear to get a shot off, before the referee's made a call against Virginia, giving Northwestern possession. The ‘Cats controlled the ball in the final seconds to secure the 11-10 win.

Prior to the start of the game, Virginia recognized its Class of 2009. Senior's Catherine Chambers, Sarah Hackman, Whitaker Hagerman, Sara Hairfield, Jenny Hauser, Jen Holden, Ashley McCulloch, Katie Shannon and Blair Weymouth were honored for their contributions to the program, their three Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, in addition to their athletic and academic accomplishments.

Up next, the fourth-seeded Cavaliers will face fifth-seed Virginia Tech in the 2009 ACC Championship this Thursday. Opening draw is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Blacksburg, Va.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Senior Hannah Nielsen (Adelaide, Australia/Brighton Secondary) netted the game-winning goal with 1:31 remaining as top-ranked Northwestern outlasted 10th-ranked Virginia 11-10 at Klöckner Stadium. NU picks up its first-ever win in Charlottesville, improving to 15-0 on the year and upping its winning streak to 21 games.

"This was a huge win for us," said head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. "To come in and face a team as tough as Virginia, and have them test us for a full 60 minutes is great for this team. We have some tough games ahead of us, so to be able to get a win like this is big for us. I'm proud of the girls for stepping up and making plays when it mattered."

The Wildcats pounced first, as goals from junior Danielle Spencer (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) and senior Mary Kate Casey (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) gave NU an early 2-0 lead with 26:23 to play in the opening half. But UVA (10-6) answered with a pair of goals 19 seconds apart to knot the game at two.

Nielsen fed junior Katrina Dowd (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) for a goal at 21:35, putting the `Cats back on top 3-2, but the Cavaliers responded on senior day by netting four unanswered goals over a 15 minute span to take a 6-3 lead with 6:21 left in the first.

Spencer netted her second of the game with 5:24 remaining to cut the gap to 6-4, which was quickly complimented by Dowd's second of the game 47 seconds later. Senior Meredith Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) then forced a UVA turnover, scooping a shot past the goalkeeper with 1:25 remaining, knotting the game at six.

With momentum back on its side, Nielsen made sure NU would take it into the break, pushing a diving shot past the Cavalier goalkeeper with four seconds remaining to send the Wildcats into the locker room with a 7-6 advantage.

Virginia struck first in the second, tying the game for the fourth time with 27:48 to go before Nielsen fed Dowd yet again, giving NU the lead at 8-7 at 25:26. The assist gave Nielsen 100 points on the season as she becomes the first Wildcat in the program's history to tally 100 points in three different seasons.

After a Cavalier goal once again tied the game, senior Meghan Plunkett (Towson, Md./Maryvale Prep) notched her second goal in as many games to put the `Cats back on top 9-8 with 21:52 remaining. Nielsen then found a cutting Alexandra Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) less than two minutes later to push the advantage to two at 10-8.

But Virginia regained momentum with a pair of unanswered goals to tie the game once again, this time at 10 at the 8:30 mark. NU won the ensuing draw and controlled the tempo in the waning minutes before Nielsen scored the game-winner on a wrap-around.

The Cavaliers had one last chance to send the game into overtime, forcing a Wildcat turnover and setting up for a free position shot with 13 seconds remaining, but the Virginia player jumped the whistle, giving the ball back to the Wildcats who ran out the clock.

Dowd lead the way with three goals on the afternoon, with Nielsen and Spencer adding a pair apiece. Nielsen added three assists as well, giving her 102 points on the season, and upping her consecutive point streak to 59 games. She continues to inch closer to becoming the sole member of the Division I 200 assist club, sitting at 195 for her career.

Northwestern closes out the 2009 regular season with a pair of home games, beginning with American Lacrosse Conference rival Ohio State on Wednesday, April 22 at 5 p.m. The game with the Buckeyes will determine who clinches the regular season ALC crown and the top seed in the conference tournament May 1-2. The Wildcats then host third-ranked Penn in a rematch of last season's national championship game on Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. The showdown with the Quakers will also be NU's Senior Night as the class of 2009 will be honored prior to the game.

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