April 10, 2014

No. 20 Virginia Upends No. 5 BC in ACC Bout

by Drew Goodman | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Battle-tested would be the perfect way to describe the 20th-ranked Virginia women's lacrosse team in 2014.

Coming into Thursday night's clash with No. 5 Boston College, the Cavaliers boasted a modest 7-6 record, while facing the nation's most difficult schedule. Often times against elite competition, the Wahoos started off strong, only to watch the other team hit their stride and pull away in the second half.

Facing it's seventh top-10 opponent of the season in Boston College, Virginia once again endured a run, but withstood the Eagles' blows to earn a hard-fought 16-14 win at Klockner Stadium.

The triumph marks UVa's fourth win in a row and second straight against an Atlantic Coast Conference foe.

Virginia (8-6) never trailed, but Boston College would not go away until the very end.

Tied at 12 with slightly over 10 minutes to play, Casey Bocklet found a cutting Liza Blue for her third and biggest goal of the night to put Virginia ahead for good. Three different Cavaliers scored on a 4-0 run which proved to be the knockout-punch the Cavaliers needed.

The Eagles tied the game four times in the second half, but UVa had a response for each potentially momentum changing-goal from BC.

It may have been senior night in Charlottesville, but junior Courtney Swan provided the answer on multiple occasions. After Boston College scored five straight goals to tie the game for the first time at 7 early in the second half, Swan faked out her defender off of a beautiful spin move and beat Emily Mata low to give the Cavs the lead again.

BC knotted the score just minutes later, but Swan answered with a beautiful pass to Maddy Keeshan, who polished off one of her four goals on the night.

The Eagles answered back-to-back goals from UVa with two straight scores of their own to knot the game at 10. Like clockwork, Swan responded with a pair of crucial goals to put Virginia ahead once more.

"We kind of lost focus, but we were able to regroup," Said Swan who led the Cavaliers with six points off of four goals and two assists. "I think winning draws was big and taking our time to setup our attack to take some time off the clock."

Boston College (10-4) fell behind 7-2 late early, but reeled off five consecutive goals between the late first half and early second to tie the game. The offensive catalyst for the Eagles was junior, Covie Stanwick, who finished with six points off of three goals and three assists.

The name Stanwick is familiar to Virginia fans, as Covie's brother, Steele, is a former Tewaaraton Trophy winner for the UVa men's team.

On Thursday night, it was Covie's turn to make a name for herself at Klockner Stadium.

After dishing out two assists to start the contest, Stanwick netted her first goal of the evening to stop a 4-0 Virginia run late in the first half. Covie's unassisted score sparked the 5-0 Eagle run that BC needed to put the Cavaliers on their heels. The Baltimore native made one of the most heads-up plays of the evening, taking a beautiful pass from Sarah Mannelly and cashing in with just three seconds before halftime to cut the Virginia lead just one goal.

As she has done all season, Virginia's Morgan Stephens drew the assignment of guarding the opponent's biggest offensive threat. Stephens tailed Stanwick and kept the pressure on the talented junior for all sixty minutes.

"Covie is a great player, but I think we did well stopping her," Stephens said. "She was a great challenge for us. We don't have many weak teams on our schedule and that prepares us for each game. Tonight will really help us against Maryland."

"Covie still had a great game against Morgan, who I think is one of the best defenders in the country," Virginia coach Julie Myers said. "I think Morgan did a nice job of frustrating her early. She's always going to hit her shots and finder cutters, but I think she would have been even more dangerous if Morgan hadn't done such a nice job."

In addition to Stanwick's big night, Mikaela Rix and Brooke Blue each recorded hat tricks for Boston College. Blue beat UVa goalkeeper Liz Colgan low to cut Virginia's lead to just two with 21.1 seconds to go. The Eagles won the ensuing draw, but could not convert on a late free-position opportunity.
Mannelly turned in one goal and one assist for BC, and provided the offensive highlight of the game, converting on a behind-the-back goal to tie the game at 10.

Boston College came into Thursday night's contest averaging three minutes per possession, and looked to control the tempo once again. In an odd twist, it was the Cavaliers that dominated the time of possession for the bulk of the contest. Virginia was in no hurry on offense, often working the ball behind the cage and around the arc for three and four minutes at a time. The Eagles barely touched the ball in the first 10 minutes of the game, and did not have a sustained possession until the Wahoos buried three early goals.

"[Boston College] has great attackers and we knew we didn't want them to do their thing too often," Myers said. "We really wanted to make sure we weren't playing defense for that long, and we were trying to frustrate their attack by just simply not letting them have the ball."

Virginia senior Ashlee Warner scored the first goal of the game just minutes after being honored for playing her final home game at Klockner Stadium.

The Cavaliers travel to College Park on Sunday to battle Maryland, while Boston College will host Virginia Tech on Saturday.

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