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Year In Review: 2011 Virginia Women's Lacrosse

Record: 9-9 (1-4 ACC); Lost in first round of NCAA Tournament.

MVP: Liz Downs

I'm a sucker for an opportunity to give the top award to a defender. This year Senior defender Liz Downs really deserved it. Just look at the list of honors: 2011 All-ACC Team; Second Team IWLCA All-American; three-time All-South Region First Team; finalist for the Tweaaraton Trophy. And oh yeah, she was a co-captain all four years on the team and  made the All-ACC Academic team twice. An all-around impressive woman.

Overview: Coming off what had to be the most tumultuous season in women's lacrosse history last year, it was a little unclear how the team would react when the new season began. The early polls had the Cavaliers around 7th in the country - a ranking they would hover near for most of the season.

The season started off rocky with a loss to Loyola, but the Cavaliers rebounded by absolutely trouncing Richmond and Syracuse - both on the road - by a combined score of 44-24. But then there was the Maryland game (more on that after the break) and the 'Hoos never seemd to really recover, going 7-7 down the stretch including losing the last 4 contests by a total of 25 points.

Season Highlight(s): Though it was a terribly rainy and dreary day, Virginia's March 6th game against Penn State began with a touching ceremony to honor Yeardley Love and retire her #1 jersey. There were certainly some good lacrosse highlights as well, but nothing could top that moment.

Season Lowpoint(s): This has to be the absolute drubbing that Maryland gave the Cavaliers at Klockner Stadium on March 4th. A loss to the then-#1 team in the country is never something to be upset about. But a 12 point loss at home is always something to be upset about. Virginia was outscored 13-3 in the second half of that contest. Ouch.

Future Outlook: The bad news is that the Cavaliers lose four of their eight defenders to graduation this year, accounting for about half of the starts by a defender on the season. The good news is that that is all they lose. All five players with double-digit goals return for the Cavaliers, as do all seven players with double-digit points. As usual, Coach Myers has brought in a solid freshman class filled with talented middies.