Yeardley Love funeral: Thousands of mourners gather to remember U-Va. student

Virginia's players honor deceased teammate Yeardley Love in their 14-12 victory over Towson in the NCAA tournament.
By Jenna Johnson, Steve Yanda and Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 9, 2010

Nearly 2,000 mourners joined hands and lifted their voices Saturday morning, not in prayer but in a cheer, filling a Baltimore cathedral with an inspirational chant once uttered by Yeardley Love on a lacrosse field.

Leading the cheer for the slain lacrosse player was Julie Myers, Love's coach at the University of Virginia, who helped celebrate Love's life in a funeral Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

Myers recalled fondly that the Cavaliers would take turns leading the pregame cheer, "1-2-3, together, Hoos," invoking a team nickname. One day, when it was Love's turn, she counted to four.

Saturday morning, Myers counted to four. The congregation responded as one: "Together, Hoos."

From now on, Myers said, the Cavaliers will always count to four.

Love was "truly remarkable," she said, "not because she tried to be, but because she just was. It came easy for her to be great, to be kindhearted, welcoming, encouraging and engaging to all who knew her. She was legitimately awesome."

Love, 22, was found dead Monday in her apartment near the campus in Charlottesville. Police have charged George Huguely, 22, a U-Va. men's lacrosse player and former boyfriend. Investigators say he shook her violently during an argument on the night of her death, slamming her head against a wall. Huguely's attorney has said Love's death was an accident.

On Saturday, congregants overflowed from the pews into the aisles of the cavernous cathedral, which seats 1,400. The Love family sat at the front. Behind them were rows of students from Notre Dame Prep, the Towson girls' school Love attended, and other Love relatives.

The crowded church was a sea of matching colors and letters, ribbons and pins. Some Notre Dame students wore their school uniform, white-collared blue dresses with black-and-white loafers. One contingent wore the brown and orange of Landon School, the Bethesda boys' school that Huguely had attended. Another group wore blue and black ribbons with the initials "YL." Some pews were dotted with orange and navy, the colors of U-Va.

Recalling Love's life

The call to worship came from Mary Bartel, athletics director and varsity lacrosse coach at Notre Dame Prep. She directed the audience to sing loudly, as "Yeards" would, prompting a round of laughter.

Later, Myers recounted the night Love and her roommates attempted to prepare their first dinner, which they managed to set on fire.

The candle used in Love's baptism flickered on the altar throughout the service. The congregation sat mostly quiet, save for the occasional muted sniffle or rustle of tissue. At one point, as the congregation sang the words "In the shadows of night/I will be your light," a young woman burst into tears.

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