The University of Virginia women’s lacrosse team beat Towson University 14-12 yesterday in the opening round of the national tournament, its first game since the death of senior defender Yeardley Love.
“The first half was pretty emotional. We had a lot of jitters going into it,” said senior Brittany Kalkstein, who had two goals and two assists. “Once the second half came around, we started to calm down a little bit and get more into our game plan and what we wanted to do.”
The win in Charlottesville, Virginia, came before a record crowd of 2,270, including the family of Love, who was found dead at her off-campus apartment on May 3. George Huguely, Love’s ex- boyfriend and member of Virginia’s men’s lacrosse team, was charged in her murder.
“When I saw them walking up behind our team, I felt like we were suddenly going to be okay,” Virginia coach Julie Myers said, according to a news conference transcript on the school’s website. “I felt like they were going to kind of be our extra emotion on the side. Their presence was definitely felt.”
It was the first time the Virginia women’s team won a game in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament since 2007 and came a day after the school’s top-ranked men’s team routed Mount St. Mary’s University 18-4 in its first-round game. The women’s team (14-5), which is seeded fourth, advances to face No. 3 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
“I wasn’t ready to be done and I don’t think the girls were even close to being ready either,” Myers said. “We feel like we are a good enough team to still be alive. But we also feel we still need to be together as we take these next steps. Emotionally, we have been through an awful lot.”