Virginia Women’s Lacrosse has had a historic season ended by Florida in the second round of the NCAA

The Virginia women’s lacrosse team’s historic first season under Sonia LaMonica has come to an end. After rolling past LIU 21-6 in the first round on Friday, the Cavaliers simply couldn’t overcome a drastic disparity in the draw circle.

Thanks in large part to the 19-6 advantage in draw controls, the Gators jumped out to a 5-2 lead and held the UVA offense at bay for most of the match as No. 5 seed Virginia (15-5) was eliminated from the tournament . battle with a 13-8 loss to Florida (19-2) in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship on Sunday afternoon at Klockner Stadium.

Draw control has been UVA’s biggest weakness all season. Against a Florida team that features one of the best draw control specialists in the sport in Liz Harrison, who ranks among the national leaders in career draw control wins, it was predictable that the Cavaliers would experience a clear ball possession disadvantage in this match.

Sure enough, Florida won seven of eight first-quarter ties, outscoring Virginia 8-4 in that period, and even three big early saves from Mel Josephson couldn’t keep the Gators from going 5 after the opening -2 lead to race. period of time.

Florida again won the tie 5-1 in the second quarter, but UVA’s defense limited the Gators to just two shots in the period thanks to seven Florida turnovers and a 5-1 edge in groundballs for the Cavaliers. That leveled the playing field a bit and Virginia was able to work its way back into the game as goals from Kiki Shaw, Kate Galica, Mackenzie Hoeg and Katia Carnevale made it 7-6 to Florida at halftime.

Jenna Dinardo scored early in the third quarter to tie the game at 7-7 and the momentum was all on Virginia’s side. But the Cavaliers wouldn’t score again until just over 23 minutes later. The entire third quarter was a defensive stalemate, with the Gators held scoreless until a goal from Ashley Gonzalez made it 8-7 Florida entering the fourth quarter.

Florida turned that into a 6-0 run and completely dominated Virginia in the fourth quarter to take control of the game. A goal from Katia Carnevale finally ended UVA’s long drought, making it 13-8 with two and a half minutes left, but it was too little, too late.

Florida ultimately had a 19-6 lead at the draw check and used it to beat Virginia 26-22, with 24 of those shots on target. Mel Josephson stopped 11 of those shots, but was bombarded with quality shots from start to finish.

Mackenzie Hoeg and Katie Carnevale each scored two goals as Virginia’s top scorers. Morgan Schwab was guarded by Florida all game, scoring one goal and two assists in her final game as a Cavalier.

“There was a stalemate for a while. I think at the end of the day we had some chances, and we just didn’t finish some shots that we needed to get off. That might have helped shift that momentum,” UVA head coach Sonia LaMonica said after the game. “But you saw in that period it was going back and forth, both defenses were on their heads. Credit to the defensive unit, I thought our defensive transition was really effective. I think we fell a little short in taking advantage of a few attacking opportunities. That would have made the difference for us today.”

Virginia finishes the season with an overall record of 15–5, its highest number of wins since the 2007 season.