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Men’s lacrosse: No. 6 UVA topples Princeton in shootout, 18-15

uva lacrosseAttackmen Michael Kraus and Ian Laviano each scored seven points to lift No. 6 Virginia (4-0) over the Princeton Tigers (1-1) in a shootout on Saturday at Klöckner Stadium, 18-15. The win is UVA’s sixth in a row over the Tigers, dating back to the 2005 regular season.

Virginia’s faceoff specialist Justin Schwenk was 25-of-34 (.735) from the faceoff X. The 25 faceoff wins place Schwenk No. 2 all-time at UVA for faceoff wins in a game. The record is held by Jason Hand, who had 29 wins against Syracuse in 1997.

“I felt like with Princeton’s ability to move the ball off the dodge and find open men, they were exploiting us and getting a lot of great looks and opportunities,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Lars Tiffany. “We challenged our men at halftime to slow the slides down a bit because this is a team that moves the ball too effectively.”

The game was a sprint to start as Princeton staked itself to an early 2-0 lead after Tiger goals from Connor McCarthy and Emmet Cordrey. Laviano scored two goals back-to-back, tying the game at 2-2 with 8:34 left in the first quarter. Princeton retook the lead, 4-2, after back-to-back goals, the second coming with 4:58 left in the first period.

UVA retaliated with a nifty 4-0 run, taking its first lead of the game, 6-4, with 2:51 left. Laviano scored his third goal of the quarter to cap the run. An EMO goal by Austin Sims, followed by a Phillip Robertson goal with 52 seconds left in the quarter tied the game, 6-6, heading into the second frame.

The Cavaliers used a 3-0 run to take a 9-6 lead after a Mikey Herring goal at 9:55. Princeton bounced back with a 4-1 run, including a Cordrey goal with four seconds left in the second quarter that tied the game, 10-10, heading into the intermission.

“It is a tied ball game yet we are plus-12 at the faceoff X at halftime,” said Tiffany. “The final results, seeing us plus-16 at the faceoff X and we win by three. What would life be like without Justin Schwenk and his wingmen. I thought it was fantastic play by Ryan Conrad with 10 ground balls and the other wingman was Jared Conners with his long-stick and the number of ground balls he had and the pressure he put on, and then scoring two goals. Those three were absolutely key today.”

The difference for Virginia came in the third quarter, outscoring Princeton 5-2. Kraus, Laviano and Matt Moore all scored to start the frame off, taking a 13-10 lead. Princeton cut its deficit to two goals, 13-11, with 13 seconds left, but UVA won the ensuing faceoff and Laviano found long-stick Conners for a score as time expired in the third quarter.

The teams played the fourth quarter to a 3-3 draw and UVA came away with the three-goal victory.

UVA won the battle of shots (48-43), ground balls (46-40) and faceoffs (26-10). UVA also had more turnovers (15-8), while Princeton had more saves (14-10).

Laviano led UVA with five goals, three of which came in the first quarter. He also had two assists. Kraus scored four goals and dished out three assists. Ryan Conrad led all players with 10 ground balls, while Conners had two goals and four ground balls in the win.

Virginia returns to action on Sunday, March 4 when No. 14 Syracuse comes to Klöckner Stadium to open ACC play. Faceoff is set for 3 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.

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