Cavs Ecstatic to be Back in Final Four

The Virginia women's lacrosse team was back on the practice field Monday afternoon -- which was just fine with the Cavaliers.

"So awesome. There's no better feeling in the world," midfielder Maddy Keeshan said after Monday's practice. "I am a fourth-year, so I graduated yesterday, but it kind of felt like nothing compared to the win on Saturday. So I'm so happy to be out here."

UVa kept its season alive by rallying to beat North Carolina 10-9 in Saturday's NCAA Quarterfinals in Chapel Hill. With the win, the Cavaliers will make the program's 14th NCAA Final Four appearance all-time -- but its first since 2007.

UVa faces Syracuse in the national semifinals at 5 p.m. Friday in Towson, Md.

"It's the best feeling in the world," said senior attacker Casey Bocklet. "Especially just, you work so hard all year. And for it to pay off, and when it comes down to it, this is what we've worked for. And to see that we're one of the last teams playing, it's a dream come true."

"You realize how hard it is to get there when you do miss it a few times," said coach Julie Myers, who will coach in her eighth NCAA Semifinals on Friday. "I feel like we've been awfully close. But today, we're excited to be practicing, and looking forward to playing a great game against Syracuse on Friday."

"Really proud of the girls. They've had their backs against the wall several times this year, and they rose to the challenge. And now they're playing their best lacrosse of the year."

UVa improved to 11-8 with Saturday's win in Chapel Hill, that snapped a nine-game losing streak streak for the Cavaliers against UNC. The Wahoos have won four of their last five games, and eight of their last 10, entering Friday's rematch with the Orange.

Both of UVa's NCAA Tournament wins -- the Cavaliers opened NCAA play by beating Princeton 13-11 on May 11 in Charlottesville -- have come against teams that beat the Wahoos during the regular season.

Syracuse won 18-14 at Klöckner Stadium in the Cavaliers' ACC opener on February 23.

"I think whenever you look at your schedule, and you notice who the best teams were, you figure you're probably going to -- if you're playing well, you're going to be matching up with these teams again, whether in the ACC or in the postseason," Myers said. "So we're not shocked. But it's been really nice to be able to get a second chance at some of these teams that got us early on."

"I really enjoy playing Syracuse, actually," said Keeshan. "They're an awesome team. They're really fun to play against, and those girls are all really skilled. So it'll be a great challenge, but I'm excited to get another shot at them."

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