Second half propels Cavaliers over No. 19 Nittany Lions

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. The No. 2 Virginia women’s lacrosse team used a dominating second half to overcome an early three-goal deficit to No. 19 Penn State in Holuba Hall Friday evening. The Cavaliers scored seven of the final eight goals of the game and used a 13-2 advantage in ground balls in the final 30 minutes to push past the Nittany Lions, 13-7.

Virginia rallied early in the second half to tally four straight goals and break open an even 6-6 halftime score, taking its largest lead of the game at 10-6. The Nittany Lions halted the run with a score from Theresa Bucci at the 6:53 mark. Junior Ashley McCulloch then found sophomore Brittany Kalkstein with 4:41 remaining in the contest to push Virginia up four at 11-7. Junior Jenny Hauser then tallied her second score on the day before senior Megan O’Malley notched the final goal of the day with only 13 ticks remaining on the clock.

Junior Blair Weymouth led the Cavaliers with a season-high six points on the day, tallying four goals with two helpers. Kalkstein tied a career-high with five points, notching three goals with two assists. McCulloch extended her scoring streak to 28 straight contests with a point, contributing two goals and two assist.

Hauser also tallied two scores, while red-shirt senior Kaitlin Swagart and O’Malley also had a goal. Red-shirt sophomore Whitaker Hagerman added an assist.

Defensively, the Cavaliers held the advantage in ground balls, 18-9 and caused eight turnovers, compared to Penn State’s four. Senior Alice Hughey and Weymouth led the defense with three ground balls each, while Hughey also had 4 caused turnovers.

In goal, senior Kendall McBrearty stopped 10 shots for Virginia.

The Nittany Lions jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead by the 25:34 mark before the Cavaliers had a chance to get the ball into their offensive end. Mary LeNoir put Penn State on the board 2:31, before Kerry Shea notched two in a row within a minute of each other to give the Lions a 3-0 lead.

Swagart and Hagerman teamed for Virginia’s first goal at the 22:40 mark, sparking a 4-0 run for the Cavaliers. Weymouth carried the ball up the field and ran around the back of the cage before sticking the ball into the low corner of the cage for a second straight score for Virginia at the 18:30 mark.

Kalkstein then tallied two straight to give Virginia its first lead of the day. Her first score was unassisted at 14:19, before McCulloch won the ensuing draw control and passed it off to an open Kalkstein.

Penn State responded with a fourth score, before the squads added two more each, leading to an even 6-6 halftime.

Virginia outscored Penn State 7-1 in the second half.

The Cavaliers (4-1, 1-1 ACC) will return to action Wednesday, March 12 in Williamsburg, Va., taking on William & Mary in a 7 p.m. contest.