Improbable dream: UVa. rallies in fourth to down Maryland, win NCAA men’s lax title

Colin Briggs scored five goals and was named the Most Outstanding Player as the No. 7 seed Virginia Cavaliers (13-5) put their stamp on the program’s fifth NCAA National Championship with a 9-7 triumph over the unseeded Maryland Terrapins (13-5) on Monday afternoon, in front of 35,661 fans inside M&T Bank Stadium.

Virginia became the lowest seed (No. 7) and first five-loss team to win a men’s lacrosse national championship. The ACC now has 12 all-time NCAA titles, the most of any conference. Virginia now has won NCAA titles in 1972, 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2011.

“The fact that we are here right now is a credit to the team and my family and the people at Virginia,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “We had to reconfigure ourselves midway through the season – they had to decide that it was important enough to pick themselves up and get going again. The game today epitomized the kind of season that we’ve had – that we have started out well – put some goals in the second quarter when we got ahead a little bit and gave us some confidence going into the locker room. I am very proud of these guys and what they have done.”

UVa goalie Adam Ghitelman concludes his career with 50 career wins in between the pipes and No. 3 all-time among NCAA Division I goalies. Ghitelman finishes his career with 586 career saves, good for No. 2 all-time in the UVa annals.

The game started off at a stand still as Maryland held a 1-0 lead after one quarter of play on a Grant Catalino score. It was the lowest combined goal total all-time in a NCAA Championship game. It was the first time a team had been shutout in the first period of the National Championship game since 2003 when UVa shutout Johns Hopkins (4-0).

UVa snapped its scoreless drought of 17:13 when Briggs found the back of the net only 2:13 into the second quarter. Briggs’ goal jumpstarted a 4-2 Cavalier run, sending the Cavaliers into the intermission with the two goal lead, 5-3. Briggs tallied the hat trick in the period, while Nick O’Reilly and Matt White also tallied goals in the period. Mark Cockerton picked up two assists, as did O’Reilly.

Briggs scored his fourth goal of the game, starting the third quarter scoring with 12:18 left in the period. Catalino ended a 15:46 scoring drought with a score at the 6:58 mark in the third quarter, cutting the Maryland deficit to two goals, 6-4.

Catalino’s goal started a 3-0 run for Maryland, tying the game at 6-6. Ryan Young tied the game on a Catalino pass at 11:43 left in the game. Young’s goal was the last of significance for the Terrapins.

White scored back-to-back goals and Briggs capped his afternoon with his fifth goal of the game, taking a commanding 9-6 lead with 1:50 left in the game. Maryland’s Jake Bernhardt capped the game’s scoring with a goal with 16 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough for the Terrapins.

Maryland won the shots battle (32-26), the ground ball battle (22-21), the faceoff battle (20-11) and UVa topped the Terrapins in saves (9-8).

Briggs’ most outstanding player of the NCAA Championship accolade is the first for UVa since Matt Ward won it in 2006 during UVa’s perfect 17-0 title run. Joining Briggs on the all-tournament team is Ghitelman, Bray Malphrus, O’Reilly and Steele Stanwick.


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