news1 virginia explodes for 20 in first half holds on to beat 18 harvard 25 21

#1 Virginia explodes for 20 in first half, holds on to beat #18 Harvard, 25-21

uva lacrosse
Photo: UVA Athletics

Top-ranked Virginia exploded for 20 goals in the first half, then had to hold on to gain the 25-21 win over #18 Harvard on Saturday at Klöckner Stadium.

Connor Shellenberger led the Cavaliers after setting a career-high 10 points on three goals and seven assists. Xander Dickson scored on all five of his shot attempts, including on four Shellenberger assists. Goalie

Virginia led 11-3 at the end of the first period as Shellenberger, Dickson, Payton Cormier (3g, 1a) and Thomas McConvey (2g, 2a) all netted a pair of goals in the opening period.

Virginia continued to pour it on to start the second as the Cavaliers scored four straight to take a 15-3 lead. First-year attackman Truitt Sunderland scored for the first time of his career on a pair of goals just 14 seconds apart late in the second quarter. Dickson’s third goal of the night came with 18 seconds left in period No. 2 as the Hoos led 20-8 at the intermission.

After UVA got on the board first in the third, the Crimson scored four unanswered to cut the UVA lead back to single digits, 21-12. Petey LaSalla (2g, 30-31 FO) ripped his second goal of the night late in the third period before Shellenberger found Dickson for the duo’s final connection of the evening to close out the third.

The Cavaliers doubled up Harvard with their first goal of the fourth, but the Crimson closed out the game by scoring nine of the game’s last 10 goals. Virginia reached deep into its bench in period No. 4, as 37 Cavaliers checked into Saturday’s game.

“What an exceptional performance by our offense, and give our offensive coordinator Sean Kirwan tremendous credit. To score 20 goals in the first half on Gerry Byrne’s defense is unheard of,” Virginia coach Lars Tiffany said. Gerry is one of the best defensive coaches – great coach, period. And for Sean to prepare our men like that is mind-blowing.

“Granted, you have to have exceptional players to execute game plans, and we’re fortunate to have that. Connor Shellenberger, just his vision, playing through checks and seeing through defenses, and then to have the shooters we have, this is the second game in a row now that we’ve shot at a really high efficiency in the first half,” Tiffany said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

In addition to being the editor of Augusta Free Press, I've written seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For my commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, Want to reach me? Try [email protected].