Whenever Virginia and Loyola get together on the lacrosse field, you’re in for a nail biter. Today’s matchup was no different as No. 15 Virginia taking down No. 10 Loyola in double overtime, 13-12, with Dox Aitken notching the game winning goal.
First year Ian Laviano led the Cavaliers with five goals and an assist, and fellow first year Matt Moore had two goals and an assist. The game winner was Aitken’s only goal of the game to go with two assists, and Ryan Conrad finished with two assists.
Specialists were a huge part for the Hoos with Griffin Thompson getting 15 saves and Justin Schwenk winning 16 of his 26 faceoffs.
The Hoos were down five goals in the third quarter before storming back to take a three goal lead in the fourth. Loyola tied things up late, forcing overtime. Pat Spencer led the way for the Greyhounds with three goals and two assists.
Virginia was called for a violation on the opening face off, leading to a goal by Loyola’s superstar attackman Pat Spencer with 14:16 to play. The Greyhounds jumped to a 2-0 lead at 13:42 on a Jay Drapeau shot (assisted by Spencer) before the Hoos had even touched the ball.
The Hoos won the ensuing face off after a battle on the wings, and Dox Aitken - now donning No. 6 - cleared the ball upfield. Coach Tiffany went with a starting lineup of Matt Emery, Ryan Conrad, and Aitken to go with Michael Kraus, Mike D’Amario, and first year Ian Laviano on attack.
Virginia got four shots on their first offensive possession, capped with an incredible save by Loyola’s goalie Jacob Stover on a behind-the-back shot from from D’Amario. Logan Greco picked off a pass, but Conrad turned it over in the midfield giving the ball right back to the Greyhounds. Drapeau attempted an outside shot, but Griffin Thompson saw it all the way and picked up his first save. On the ensuing possession, Mikey Herring found pay dirt after collecting a rebound on the crease to make it 2-1 with 8:32 left in the first quarter.
Aitken clipped the pipe before Emery turned it over, leading to a lengthy possession for the Greyhounds which ended with a worm-burner goal by PJ Brown to make it 3-1 Loyola with 5:51 to go in the first.
After a timeout, Virginia cleanly won the face off, but a shot from Matt Moore went straight into Stover’s stick. Thompson earned a save down the other end, and Conrad drew an offsides for the first penalty of the game. Laviano took advantage on the extra man opportunity, going low to high to bury a shot in the upper right-hand corner with 3:14 left in the first quarter to make it 3-2 Loyola.
Loyola doubled up the Hoos 4-2 with 15 seconds left in the first quarter on a bouncer by Spencer, but Virginia’s face off guy Justin Schwenk collided with teammate Cory Harris on the ensuing face off, leaving him writhing in pain at midfield. He was able to walk off the field on his own, holding his side.
Things in the second quarter started just about the same as the Hoos were called for a violation on the face off, but John Fox was able to corral an errant shot and give Virginia possession. Conrad lost control of a shot, falling harmlessly to a Loyola defender and the Hoos came up empty in their first possession of the second quarter.
Loyola pushed their lead to 5-2 on a goal from John Duffy, beating Thompson low again. Laviano answered with his second of the game on a brilliant pass from Aitken after a huge ground ball pickup on the face off, making it 5-3 Loyola with 9:28 left in the first half. Loyola scored back-to-back goals to make it 7-3 with 5:21 left in the half, putting pressure on the Hoos.
Hooper ended the half with exceptional defense on Spencer, sending the squads into the break with the Greyhounds leading 7-3. Virginia had 12 first half turnovers and shot just 3-for-15. Thompson was solid in cage with seven saves on 29 faced shots. The Hoos held the advantage in first half face offs, 7-5.
Loyola opened scoring in the second half, but a man-up opportunity goal by Cameron Stafford closed the deficit back to four at 8-4. Virginia went man-down for a non-releasable body-check and a push from behind, giving Loyola a two man advantage. The Virginia defense stood tall, however, turning the Greyhounds away twice, but Moore’s shot was saved and the Hoos were unable to close the gap.
Laviano notched the hat trick with 7:26 left in the third quarter, making it 8-5 with this bouncer:
The Hoos picked up some momentum, winning the ensuing face off and getting a rolling bouncer from the No. 1 midfield prospect Matt Moore. His goal made it 8-6 with 6:21 left and breathed some life into the Cavaliers (and the cold, wet fans).
A huge save on an outside shot from Spencer gave Virginia the ball back, and Kraus found short stick d-middie John Fox for the goal on the doorstep and brought the Hoos within one at 8-7 with 4:26 left in the third quarter.
Virginia was able to completely erase the deficit with 2.2 seconds left on a clock after the Hoos forced Loyola into a shotclock violation (no joke). Conrad took the ball up the field, finding Laviano on the doorstep for his fourth goal of the game.
Conrad won the ensuing face off, found Laviano for his fifth goal and giving Virginia the 9-8 lead. Kraus picked up his first goal of the game with 14:33 left in the game as the Hoos kept rolling and took a 10-8 lead.
Spencer notched his first point since the first quarter as he out-muscled Scott Hooper (in what was honestly the best matchup of the game) to bring Loyola within one with 13:46 to play. Schwenk won yet another face off, giving the Cavaliers possession and leading to a Mike D’Amario goal on the doorstep on the brilliant feed from Kraus.
All the momentum shifted to the Hoos as Moore scored his second of the game with 9:55 remaining to put the Hoos up 12-9. Spencer attempted to close the gap for Loyola, but Thompson saw it all the way, getting his 14th save of the game. He got his 15th save on Loyola’s next possession and Virginia had some outstanding ball movement thwarted by an epic save by Stover on the doorstep. Duffy capitalized, going low on Thompson to make it 12-10 Virginia with 5:41 left in the game.
Loyola wasn’t done yet, however. The Greyhounds won the next faceoff, and Orefice took it right to the cage for his third goal of the game to make it a one-goal game. The Greyhounds tied it at 12 with 2:14 left on Drapeau’s second goal of the game.
First year walk on Kyle Kology made a heads-up play on the next face off to get the Hoos possession, but Matt Moore’s shot ricocheted off of Stover’s mask and the Greyhounds had a chance to win it in regulation. Spencer almost ended it on a behind-the-back attempt that just missed, but Virginia held strong and the game went to overtime for the second straight season.
Loyola won the face off in overtime, but Hooper hounded Spencer on the receiving end of a long pass, forcing the ball to the ground and allowing Conrad to get the clear. Coach Tiffany called a timeout, but Kraus lost the handle on a pass, sending it out of bounds and giving Loyola possession.
Spencer turned it over down the other end, and Conrad easily cleared the ball (again) for Virginia. Conrad got a good look at a shot, but the Hoos failed to back it up (the third of the game), and Loyola would get another crack at the game winner. The Virginia defense stood tall one more time, forcing the ball to fall short in front of the Wahoo goal before clearing it with five seconds left. Virginia’s half-field shot didn’t connect, sending the game into double overtime.
Aitken won the face off and called his own number, splitting two defenders and dodging a third to bounce the ball past Stover and get the win.