Virginia defeats UNC, 12-11, to advance to men’s lacrosse title game
Defending national champ Virginia held off a late charge from top-seeded North Carolina to advance to the 2021 national title game with a 12-11 win on Saturday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.
UVA (13-4) advances to its 11th national title game in program history with the win.
Connor Shellenberger led UVA with six points on two goals and four assists. Payton Cormier added three goals, while Alex Rode made 15 saves between the pipes in the win.
The Cavaliers took a 9-4 lead into halftime courtesy of a 6-0 run. Trailing 4-3 with 12:14 left in the second quarter, Matt Moore took the ball to the cage to start the streak. Five different Cavaliers scored during the run and Charlie Bertrand scored twice, capping the first-half scoring with 16 seconds left in the second quarter.
UNC (13-3) sprinted out on a 4-1 run to start the third, cutting UVA’s lead to two goals, 10-8. Shellenberger assisted back-to-back goals to close the third-quarter scoring to push UVA’s lead back to four goals, 12-8. Ian Laviano found nylon with 59 seconds left to prove to be all the Cavaliers need to hold on to the win.
UNC finished the game on a 3-0 run, while shutting out the Virginia offense in the fourth quarter. William Perry scored back-to-back goals to bring the Tar Heels within one goal, 12-11, with 3:05 left to play.
After a failed UVA clear, the game’s final sequence saw UNC’s Chris Gray dodge to force a switch. UVA’s Chris Merle jammed his hands, forcing Gray to look toward the crease to pass. Gray’s pass was knocked down by Cole Kastner as time expired.