Via UVa Sports Information

No. 12 Loyola nearly doubled up on the No. 7 Virginia women’s lacrosse team Saturday afternoon, downing the Cavaliers 15-8. The game, at the Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore, was the season opener for both teams.

“That was about what we expected in terms of opening a season against a great opponent,” head coach Julie Myers said. “I think Loyola did a great job and their seniors really played like seniors that had a lot of experience under their belts. When the time was right to rip a shot, they nailed their fair share of them.”

“I also thought Kim [Kolarik] and our defense did a great job of holding them. Our transition game was probably the thing that we couldn’t overcome in the end.”

Freshman Marlee Paton led Loyola with a game-high five goals on the afternoon, while BIG EAST Preseason Attack Player of the Year Grace Gavin tacked on three and an assist. Preseason All-BIG EAST Team selection Abby Rehfuss had one goal, while the Cavaliers’ defense held Cara Filippelli scoreless.

Juniors Charlie Finnigan and Julie Gardner led Virginia’s attack with three points on two goals and one assist, while redshirt junior Ainsley Baker added two goals. Junior Josie Owen had one goal and one assist, while freshmen Liza Blue and Dana Boyle each recorded their first career point. Blue had a goal, while Boyle dished out an assist.

Loyola notched the first score of the game just 37 seconds into play, before Gardner tied the score at 1-1 with a goal from Owen one minute later. Baker, playing in her first game since March 24, 2010, gave Virginia its first lead of the game, 2-1, at 23:40. The goal marked the eighth-straight game that she’s played in that she’s scored.

The Greyhounds responded with three-straight goals to erase their deficit to pull ahead 4-2 at 18:11. Baker then tallied her second goal of the season at 16:31, but Loyola tacked on two more to take a 6-3 lead with 10:32 to play.

Finnigan got on the board at 9:25 and Blue recorded her first collegiate goal at 7:58 to cut the Greyhounds’ lead to one, 6-5. The next 5:32 was scoreless, but Gavin found the back of the net for the third time at 2:26, giving the Greyhounds a 7-5 lead. The score would remain the same heading into halftime.

Loyola got the scoring started in the second half, recording two goals by the 19:42 mark. Owen notched her first score of the season at 16:22, assisted by Baker, before three more tallies from the Greyhounds gave Loyola its largest lead of the game, 12-6, with 12:13 to play.

Gardner tallied her second score at 8:06, and Finnigan notched her second at 3:22 — sandwiched around one from Loyola at 5:38. The Greyhounds closed out the game by breaking Virginia’s transition and flinging a goal into an open net with 45 seconds remaining.

Defensively, sophomore Kim Kolarik stopped a career-high 11 shots in goal, while also scooping up a career-high five ground balls. Senior Marghi Walters, junior Bailey Fogarty and freshman Maddy Keeshan all had two ground balls for Virginia, while Fogarty and Keeshan also collected three draw controls.

Seven Cavaliers recorded a caused turnover for the Cavaliers.

“All in all, I do think that our team is a team that will get much better every game that we get to play in,” Myers said.

Virginia will return to action on Wednesday as the Cavaliers head to Richmond for a 5 p.m. contest with the Spiders.