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Virginia defeats Brown, 17-10, to advance in 2022 NCAA lax tournament

(© Augustas Cetkauskas –

Virginia (12-3) went on an 8-0 run to pull away from eighth-seeded Brown (10-6) Saturday night on its way to a 17-10 win at Stevenson-Pincince Field in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Connor Shellenberger, the 2021 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, posted a game-high eight points on four goals and four assists. Payton Cormier tallied a game-high five goals on nine shots. Petey LaSalla dominated the faceoff-X, finishing Saturday’s game 19-for-30 (.633).

In net, first-year goalie Matthew Nunes (11-3) earned the win after stopping 16 Brown shots to register a .615 save percentage in 60 minutes of action. The Bears’ starting goalie Connor Theriault (9-6) made nine saves and suffered the loss.

The Cavaliers dominated the ground ball effort after collecting 32 ground balls in contrast to Brown’s 20.

Shellenberger kicked off the scoring with the first two goals of the game. The Bears closed out the first quarter by scoring four of the next five goals. LaSalla had UVA’s third goal of the opening period as the Cavaliers trailed 4-3 at the end of the quarter.

Scott Bower’s third career goal and first of the season put a cap on a 3-0 UVA run to open the second, but the Bears responded with a 3-0 run of their own to regain the lead, 7-6, with just under 4:00 to play in the first half. Cormier ripped his second goal of the evening 20 seconds later to even the game 7-7 heading into the intermission. Shellenberger posted a hat trick in the first 20 minutes of action and Nunes closed out the first half with eight saves, including five in the first period.

Both teams scored back-to-back goals – starting with UVA – to open the second half, including a goal from UVA long-stick midfielder Ben Wayer. With the score tied, 9-9, the Cavaliers orchestrated eight straight goals – three of which were Cormier’s – to ultimately take a 17-9 lead with 6:29 remaining in the fourth. Brown reached double digits on the scoreboard with 2:30 to play as Virginia went on to claim its ninth straight NCAA Tournament victory, a streak that dates back to its 2019 national championship run.

Postgame: UVA coach Lars Tiffany

“The men sitting next to me [Cormier and Shellenberger] and the men back in the locker room – I’m very fortunate to have. Not only supremely talented men, but men who really care and are passionate. When you get to the NCAA Tournament, the experience matters. It really does. The idea that there is no guarantee for tomorrow. And we were just desperate, hungry to not be disbanded – to not let this end … I’m fortunate to be surrounded here by Payton [Cormier] and Connor [Shellenberger] and men back in the locker room who appreciate and came to Virginia so they could be in these type of high-stakes high-pressure situations. And we performed under that pressure at a high-level tonight.”

augusta free press
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