Men’s lacrosse: #6 UVA’s comeback at UNC lifts Cavaliers into ACC Championship Final

UVA men’s lacrosseThe No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers (12-3) used a 6-1 run in the fourth quarter to outlast the North Carolina Tar Heels (8-7) on Saturday afternoon, 14-13, at UNC Lacrosse Stadium. UVA advances to the ACC Championship final for the second year in a row.

In the first year of a two-year agreement, the ACC Championship final round will go to the home of the highest remaining seed. UVA is the No. 1 seed and will host either No. 2 seeded Duke or No. 3 seeded Notre Dame on Sat., May 4 at 2 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium.

Virginia jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, courtesy of goals from Matt Moore, Ryan Conrad and Petey LaSalla. UNC made the game close, 4-3, after scoring three goals in a 3-1 run. Ian Laviano and Ryan Conrad scored to conclude the first quarter with a 6-3 lead after 15 minutes. Moore tied his career-high with four assists in the first frame.

After scoring with 14 seconds left in the first quarter, UVA didn’t score again for the next 26:17 in which UNC reeled off a 7-0 run to take a commanding 10-6 lead with 8:16 left in the third quarter. Michael Kraus broke through with an unassisted goal at 3:06 to cut UVA’s deficit to three goals, 10-7. North Carolina responded with a 2-0 run, taking a 12-8 lead with 14:09 left to play.

Dox Aitken started the comeback with 7:31 left in the game, scoring back-to-back goals to cut the UVA deficit to two goals, 12-10. Aitken’s first goal was the 100th of his career and the second goal broke Shamel Bratton’s school record for career points by a midfielder.

After Aitken’s goals, Laviano scored on a Moore helper at 6:32 in the fourth, followed by an acrobatic goal on another Moore assist by Mikey Herring with 5:37 left to play to tie the game at 12-12.

Alex Trippi bounced in a shot at 3:24 to give UNC the lead, 13-12 for the final time. Kraus tied the game, 13-12, with an unassisted goal at 3:05. After a huge save by Patrick Burkinshaw and an ensuring ground ball by Matt Dziama, UVA moved the ball in transition and Cade Saustad recorded his first career assist when he found Laviano for the game-winning goal at 1:30 in the fourth.

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