For the first time, lacrosse coaches at the University of Virginia are speaking out about the murder of player Yeardley Love and the fellow lacrosse player, George Huguely, accused in her killing. Both the men's and the women's teams will play in the NCAA tournament this weekend, less than two weeks after Love's death.
The men's coach, Dom Starsia, says his team is dealing with grief both on and off the field.
"Well, it's been such extraordinary circumstances, you know, just so tragic on so many different levels," Starsia said in a telephone interview with ESPN. "There are so many things that need to happen here on a personal level, that the lacrosse piece of this has been a little secondary until closer to today."
Therapist Phil McGraw, the host of "The Dr. Phil Show" said he thinks it's a positive step for the teams to return to competition.
"I do think it's a good thing," McGraw said on "Good Morning America." "If you can return to normalcy, then that can help the healing process."
"If they can do this and memorialize her loss and acknowledge it in some way, apparently she was a tremendous competitor, a tremendous team player… she certainly would have wanted them to play," he said.
In a conference call with reporters, the women's lacrosse coach, Julie Myers, described the moment both teams found out about the murder.
"We saw Dom right off the bat and he was shaking and just like we were," she said. "I mean, everyone had this tremendous sense of loss and, how does this happen?"
Love, 22, was laid to rest near her family's home in Baltimore last weekend. At her funeral, six of the men's lacrosse players carried her casket, a detail that did not go unnoticed.
"By carrying her casket those players also said that George Huguely is gone," USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan said. "That he is no longer one of them."
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The Cavaliers men's team is the top seed in the NCAA tournament and will host Mount St. Mary's on Saturday night. The women's team is seeded number 6 and will host Towson on Sunday afternoon. Both teams have vowed to play in the championships in Love's honor, but the coaches are worried about what comes next, when teammates and friends go their separate ways.
"They've been given the latitude to cry when they want to and to laugh when they feel ready for it," Myers said. "So, I give a lot of credit to the way that Yeardley was, but also to the Love family and the atmosphere and environment they've created over the past week for all of us."
For Love's family, her mother Sharon and older sister Lexie, the last week has likely been nothing short of a nightmare, beginning with the gruesome discovery of Love's body by her roommate, face-down and bloodied in her bed on May 3.
Police first were called to Love's off-campus apartment at 2:15 a.m. by her roommate, who suspected that she may have just had too much to drink. But when authorities were unsuccessful in reviving Love, evidence of trauma became clear and they arrested Huguely at his own apartment just a few blocks away.