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April 20, 2012
Durham, N.C. (theACC.com) - Julie Gardner scored on all six of her six shots on goal and Kim Kolarik tied a first-round ACC Tournament record with 11 saves Friday as fourth-seeded Virginia repelled No. 5 Boston College's comeback bid for a 13-8 victory and earned a semifinal meeting with No. 1 North Carolina.
"Everybody - across the board - showed up with one of their best games of the season," Cavalier coach Julie Myers said. "As a result, we were able to control the game from start to finish."
The difference may have been in the cage. BC matched UVa in shots on goal (19), but Kolarik was outstanding in net, turning away 11 of the Eagles' attempts. That save percentage (58 percent) is well above the national average of 42 percent.
In fairness to the Eagles, they had their moments. They seemed vulnerable after falling behind 8-1, but they got back into it with team speed and offensive efficiency. When Brittany Wilton found the net with 23:32 left in the second half, the Eagles had sliced the deficit to three at 9-6.
"We challenged this team to start going harder to goal, to question things less as to whether they could or could not do something and to trust their instincts," Eagles coach Bowen Holden said. "And on top of that, we had to take care of the ball, which was not happening earlier in the game."
BC had a chance to get closer, but the Cavalier defense asserted itself when two players forced Covie Stanwick wide and took the steam out of her subsequent shot. Kolarik made the save and initiated a fast break that Gardner finished with the day's most important goal. "Megan Dunleavy did a great job of forcing her to shoot from the side," Kolarik said. "I was then able to focus on the stick."
Earlier this week, Stanwick and her brother Steele Stanwick, a senior at Virginia, became the first sister-brother act to earn All-ACC lacrosse acclaim in the same season.
"I probably shouldn't have taken that shot to begin with, but their defense was great today," Covie Stanwick said. "We just didn't adjust enough to come out with a win."
Gardner's goal total is one off the ACC Championship record and is the highest by any player in the last six years, and it helped the Cavs advance to face the Tar Heels, who finished the regular season at 5-0 in ACC play. That included a 14-9 victory at UVa on March 10.
"We're ready," Gardner said. "After a game like today, we have proved to ourselves how hard we can go."