The No. 8 Virginia women’s lacrosse team fell 13-12 to No. 4 Northwestern on Sunday in a neutral-site game at Kennesaw State University. The game marked the season-opener for both teams.
The Wildcats’ Kate Macdonald scored the game-winner off a free position shot with 16.7 seconds remaining in the game.
Liza Blue led Virginia with four goals. Courtney Swan had three goals with an assist, while also winning five draws and picking up five ground balls.
“It was a really exciting game to open with, one that could have gone either way, but obviously we came up on the short end of things,” said Virginia head coach Julie Myers. “We have a lot to learn from it and we have a lot to feel good about. I really liked our energy. Liza Blue’s four goals is a lot of goals against a good defense.”
Northwestern opened the game by winning three draws and scoring on its first three possessions, taking a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes.
The 'Hoos scored on their first possession, with senior Maddy Keeshan scoring on a feed from senior Ashlee Warner, the first of five-straight goals for the Cavaliers that put UVa up 5-3 with 18:47 remaining. UVa took an 8-6 lead into the break.
Northwestern scored four-straight goals early in the second half to take a 10-8 lead with 21:00 left in the game. The Cavaliers answered with three in a row, to retake the lead at 11-10.
After Northwestern tied the game, Keeshan scored on a free position shot, her second goal of the game, to give Virginia a 12-11 lead. The Wildcats retied the game a minute later. The two teams went scoreless for the next 7:30, before Macdonald drew a foul call to set up the game-winning free position goal.
The 'Hoos outshot Northwestern 18-9 in the second period and 36-23 overall in the game. The Cavaliers had 26 ground balls to the Wildcats 19, but Northwestern dominated on the draw controls with 18 to Virginia’s nine.
Next up, UVa returns home to face No. 9 Loyola on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. at Klockner Stadium.