CHARLOTTESVILLE - The 10th-ranked Virginia women's lacrosse team opens its 2012 season by hosting No. 7 Loyola on Saturday (Feb. 18) at Klöckner Stadium. The game is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m., and live statistics will be available on VirginiaSports.com. Due to the Virginia vs. Maryland men's basketball game at 1 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena, women's lacrosse parking will be available in University Hall lots after 1:30 p.m. based on availability. Additional parking will be available at the Emmet/Ivy Garage after 1:30 p.m.
The renovated entrance to Klöckner Stadium and Davenport Field and a new ticket booth will open on Saturday. Gates open at 1:30 p.m.
A new entrance plaza, which includes the ticket booth and renovated entrance to Klöckner Stadium and Davenport Field, is part of the first phase of Virginia's new track and field facility project. Construction work is still underway on the plaza, but the work remaining to be done will not impact fans attending Saturday's game.
The contest is the season-opener for both teams. UVa finished the 2011 campaign with a 9-9 overall record and its 16th-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 10 in the preseason IWLCA/Under Armour poll and No. 11 in the preseason Inside Lacrosse/deBeer poll.
Five seniors, including a trio of Tewaaraton Trophy watch list members, anchor the returning corps of Cavaliers. Senior attacker Charlie Finnigan (Twickenham, Middlesex, England) led the team with 43 goals last season, while senior attacker Josie Owen (Gibson Island, Md.) notched 40 goals and senior midfielder Julie Gardner (Severna Park, Md.) added 33 goals. It was announced on Wednesday (Feb. 15) that the trio was part of the 2012 Tewaaraton Trophy women's watch list.
In all, Virginia returns a staggering 99 percent of its offense from a season ago, as 195 of its 197 goals in 2011 were scored by 2012 returners. Senior Ainsley Baker (Corning, N.Y.), who scored 28 goals and added seven assists, and senior Annie Taylor (Alexandria, Va.) round out the Cavaliers' senior class.
The squad welcomes six newcomers in 2012 - Daniela Eppler (Towson, Md.), Kelsey Gahan (Towson, Md.), Jess Loizeaux (Mullica Hill, N.J.), Morgan Stephens (Olney, Md.), Courtney Swan (Vero Beach, Fla.) and Sloan Warren (Philadelphia, Pa.).
Virginia traveled to Philadelphia, Pa., for three preseason scrimmages last week (Feb. 11) and posted a 2-1 record with victories over Denver and Boston University, and a setback to Pennsylvania.
Loyola, ranked No. 7 in both preseason polls, finished last season with a 17-3 overall record and a 6-2 mark in BIG EAST play en route to its first-ever conference championship. The Greyhounds fell to ACC foe North Carolina, 16-13, in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Virginia dominates the all-time series with Loyola, 21-8-1, but has dropped two-consecutive games to the Greyhounds. Last season in Baltimore, Loyola prevailed 15-8, and in 2010 Loyola was victorious 15-11 in Charlottesville at the University Hall Turf Field. In all-time games in Charlottesville, UVa holds a 10-3-1 all-time record.
In season-openers, the Cavaliers hold an overall record of 29-7. Under head coach Julie Myers, now in her 17th season, UVa is 12-4 in those games.
Following Saturday's game, Virginia hosts in-state opponent Richmond on Wednesday (Feb. 22) at Klöckner Stadium. The contest is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.