Men’s lacrosse: No. 10 UVA surrenders huge halftime lead, falls to No. 9 Johns Hopkins, 15-13
The No. 9 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (6-2) overcame a seven-goal halftime deficit to defeat the No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers (7-3) on Saturday afternoon, 15-13, at Klöckner Stadium. The Blue Jay claim the Doyle Smith Cup for the second year in a row.
“I think our goalie Alex Rode was fantastic in the first half,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Lars Tiffany. “That is a game where the score shouldn’t have been 9-2 at the half, it should have been 9-6 or 9-7, and Alex Rode was simply fantastic early. We can’t lean on a goalie to play unbelievable lacrosse for four quarters – and he still made saves. I think Alex made seven saves in each half. He just game down to earth a little bit and we just didn’t step up around that.”
Virginia was electric to start the game, opening the contest on a 4-0 run. UVA received goals from Michael Kraus, Dox Aitken, Regan Quinn and Ian Laviano to start the game. Laviano’s unassisted score off a rebounded shot capped the run with 6:57 left in the first quarter.
After Johns Hopkins found nylon for the first time at 3:07 in the first on a Patrick Fraser goal, UVA reeled out another 4-0 run to take an 8-1 lead with 2:49 left in the first half. Wade Maloney scored his first career goal on a Will Rock assist to start the spurt with 2:10 left in the first quarter. Jared Conners found Laviano with 2:49 left in the half to cap the run.
Connor DeSimone scored with 40 seconds left in the half to end UVA’s run, but Kraus scored an unassisted goal with six seconds left to give UVA the seven-goal lead going into the intermission.
Johns Hopkins owned the second half, starting the third quarter on a 6-0 run, cutting its deficit to one goal, 9-8, with 2:55 left in the third quarter. Aitken appeared to give UVA the breathing room it needed at the end of the third quarter, scoring back-to-back goals on helpers by Kraus to give UVA an 11-8 lead at 1:24 in the third. After the goal by Aitken at 1:24, Hunter Moreland won the ensuing faceoff and immediately scored an unassisted goal to close out the scoring in the third quarter. Moreland’s goal started a 7-0 Johns Hopkins run that doomed the Cavaliers.
Joel Tinney’s goal with 3:53 left in the game capped the 7-0 run by the Blue Jays and gave Johns Hopkins a 15-11 lead. Laviano and Aitken scored again for the Cavaliers to cut the final winning margin at two goals for Johns Hopkins, 15-13.
“I love this team,” said Tiffany. “We play with such energy, but it just didn’t equate to enough ground balls in that third and fourth quarter. You saw so many faceoffs go Hopkins’ way as No. 31 [Hunter] Moreland for Hopkins did such a great job as the game went on countering [Justin] Schwenk and his wingman coming in and picking up a lot of great groundballs for them. It’s two really potent offensive teams and when there is that much fire power it’s really about possession. They certainly proved in that second half that they could light up the land, as they say. What we have to learn from this is you give up a few goals and just say next play or next one, we can’t tighten up and we have to keep playing loose and so we’re going to grow from this and we’re going to learn from this.”
Outscored by Johns Hopkins in the second half, 13-4, UVA only managed 12 shots in the second half. The Blue Jays won the battle of shots (52-39), while the ground balls were equal (36-36). UVA had more faceoffs (18-14), saves (14-10) and turnovers (18-11).
Kraus had seven points on two goals and five assists. Kraus tallied his 100th career point on Saturday with his fourth point of the game. He reached the plateau in 25 career games, tying him with Jay Connor and Tom Duquette for the second fastest to 100 career points in program history. Aitken scored a career-high six goals, giving the sophomore 54 for his career. Aitken is the fastest midfielder in UVA history to 50 career goals, doing so in 25 career games.
Virginia returns to action on Saturday, March 31 when in-state foe Richmond comes to Klöckner Stadium. Faceoff is set for 3 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on ACC Network Extra.