Cavalier Corner

April 2015

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cavalier profile MORGAN STEPHENS Fourth-Year • Lacrosse When the Virginia women's lacrosse team lost defensive players to injuries last season, there was no panic. Head coach Julie Myers knew she had an ace up her sleeve: Morgan Stephens. Stephens was a midfielder by trade, but Myers figured she could easily make the transition to defense. She was right. Last season, Stephens helped lead Virginia to its first Final Four since 2007. This season, the fourth-year has been instrumental in helping UVa bounce back from a slow start. In March, the Cavaliers reeled off five straight victories, which included wins over two previously undefeated teams in No. 2 Boston College and No. 4 Duke. "She's been great," Myers said when asked about Stephens. "She does some things that [show up statistically] in terms of causing turnovers, picking up groundballs and winning draw controls. "But she does so much that [doesn't show up]. She's always on our opponent's best attacker. She's one of the best one-on-one defenders in the game. She just does a lot of things that kind of just go unnoticed … she does a great job in everything she does." As a third-year, Stephens was a second-team All-American. The Olney, Md., native led Virginia with 20 forced turnovers and also had 18 goals and 10 assists — with a lot of that offensive production coming before she switched to defense. Stephens said she feels at home on her new end of the field. "I definitely would prefer defense over attack if I had to pick between the two," she said. Myers is just glad she had the versatile Stephens to turn to in a time of need. "We were playing these teams with great attackers and needed a shut- down defender," she said. Stephens said improving on last season's Final Four finish is definitely the goal. "Every year since I've been here we've gone a little bit further," she said, "so this year it would be nice to make it to the championship and win." — Whitelaw Reid ◆ Photo by Matt Riley/courtesy UVa

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