Women’s Lacrosse: UVA opens new era at Liberty today

By Jerry Ratcliffe

A new era in UVA women’s lacrosse begins today when Sonia LaMonica makes her debut as the Cavaliers coach, taking over for Julie Myers, who led the program for 28 years.

Virginia opens the season at Liberty in the first meeting ever between the two programs. LaMonica came to UVA after guiding Towson to seven NCAA tournament appearances in 14 seasons.

“We’ve just got to keep building the chemistry,” LaMonica said this week when noting what must happen for the Cavaliers to achieve success. “We’re young. We have some veterans and then we have some youngsters, so we’ve got quite a combination of experience and inexperience, and we’re working to bring that together and that takes some time, but our youngsters are talented.”

Virginia graduated a lot of talent, so it’s up to LaMonica and her staff, including her husband, Michael LaMonica (assistant coach here and formerly at Towson), to figure out how to blend the returning talent and newcomers.

“We want to be the best and we want to compete for championships,” Sonia LaMonica said. “I’m big on foundation and I’m big on culture. I’ve always been a believer that winning comes when you’ve got a foundation in place when you’ve got a team that is cohesive, when you’ve obviously got to have talent, but the culture at the end of the day is what wins, so we’re heavily focused on that.”

LaMonica said some of the young players will have to contribute in order for UVA to be successful, but that some of the veterans must lead the way.

Among those is Morgan Schwab, a preseason All-ACC choice who has 64 goals and 98 assists, the sixth-highest totals in program history, to her credit. Schwab is the team co-captain and was a second team All-ACC choice last season.

“Morgan has been a quarterback, a pivotal piece of the puzzle this past season,” LaMonica said. “We’re going to look to lean on her in a bigger role this year. Kate Miller has been a real presence, very consistent in her play. She’s a sharpshooter. So, those two initially.”

Miller, a key to the attack, is a junior who has posted a point in her last 11 outings, the longest active streak on the team.

Also, Lehigh transfer Katia Carnevale will play at midfield. The grad transfer brings a nine-game scoring streak to the program.

Virginia was picked fifth in the ACC coaches poll.