Men’s lacrosse: UVA advances to ACC Championship Game, defeats Syracuse
The No. 11 Virginia Cavaliers (11-4) advance to Sunday’s ACC Championship final with an 11-10 victory over the No. 12 Syracuse Orange (7-6) on Friday night at Klöckner Stadium. The No. 4 seed Cavaliers will play for the 2018 ACC title on Sunday against the No. 3 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who earlier defeated the No. 2 seed Duke Blue Devils, 14-11.
“Tonight, was a big step here in our second year as a staff,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Lars Tiffany. “Kip Turner, Sean Kirwan, Rocco Romero and myself developing the attitude that the bigger the moment and the bigger the pressure the more we thrive. It’s taken a lot of cultural Tuesdays and a lot of work to get to this point where the men truly trust each other and believe in the system. What you saw tonight was a Virginia lacrosse team that is really bonding and playing at a higher level when the pressure is on.”
UVA held an early 2-1 advantage after goals from Dox Aitken and Matt Moore, both assisted by Michael Kraus. Moore scored his first of his game-high four goals at 12:49 in the first to cap a 2-0 UVA spurt.
Syracuse used goals from Pat Carlin and David Lipka to take a 3-2 lead. Lipka’s goal on a Carlin helper capped the run with 3:54 left in the first. Kraus scored unassisted to tie the game, 3-3, but a UVA shot that was saved created an opportunity with 44 seconds left in the first period for the Orange. Stephen Rehfuss capitalized on a fast break with a man down, scoring on an assist by Bradley Voigt to give the Orange a one-goal lead after one quarter of play.
The Cavaliers owned the second quarter, shutting out the Orange. Kraus scored unassisted at 8:17 in the period and Aitken scored on a Kraus helper at 3:12 to cap the scoring in the second quarter. UVA entered the intermission with a 5-4 lead.
Moore started the third quarter scoring for UVA, an unassisted score at 14:19 in the period. It pushed UVA’s lead to 6-4. From that point on UVA and Syracuse traded goals back and forth with the Orange never getting closer than one goal.
A key for UVA was Justin Schwenk at the faceoff X. He was 16-of-23 on the game. Schwenk now has 216 faceoff wins, breaking Jack deVilliers (204) program record for faceoff wins in the season. Between Schwenk and UVA’s Luke Brugel, UVA won 11-of14 second half faceoffs to help keep the Cavaliers a step ahead.
Syracuse won the battle of shots (38-34), while UVA had more ground balls (37-35), faceoffs (18-7), saves (10-5) and turnovers (17-10).
Virginia will try and win its 18th ACC Championship on Sunday against No. 16 Notre Dame (7-5). Faceoff at Klöckner Stadium is set for noon and the game will air live on ESPNU.