Another Virginia-Syracuse lacrosse game, another one-goal finish. The Wahoos emerged victorious in the second ACC tournament semifinal, besting the Orange 11-10 in a thrilling, back-and-forth affair. Neither team led by more than two goals, and the win by Virginia narrowed Cuse’s slight lead in the all-time series to 18-17 (separated by one goal at 452-451, Syracuse).
Virginia, the No. 4 seed, will face No. 3 seed Notre Dame in the finals on Sunday at Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville at high noon. With the win, the Hoos will head to their first ACC title game since they lost to UNC in 2013.
A goal by Dox Aitken put the Hoos up for 5-4 with 3:12 remaining in the second quarter, and the Orange wouldn’t draw even with the Cavaliers again.
First year Matt Moore led the way for Virginia with four goals an assist. Moore came up in the clutch repeatedly, finding ways to score to help the Hoos hold on to their slim cushion. Behold:
The first half was all Michael Kraus with two goals and three assists, having a hand in each of the five goals the Hoos scored in the first 30 minutes. He now has 40 goals and 36 assists, needing just four assists to become the first Virginia player to ever score 40 goals and 40 assists in a single season.
Second year midfielder Dox Aitken was also huge for the Hoos with two goals and two assists. At the face off X, Virginia won 18-of-25, highlighted by an outstanding 16-of-23 (69.5%) day by Justin Schwenk. Schwenk earned a spot in the Virginia Lacrosse record books in tonight’s game as he earned his 216th face off win and passed Jack DeVilliers (204) for most face off wins in a single season.
Virginia turned the ball over 17 times, which is only slightly better than the 19 they had in the first matchup with the Orange in the regular season.
Syracuse got two goals apiece from Tucker Dordevic and Stephen Rephuss in the loss. Goalkeeper Dom Madonna had just five saves in the game.
With the win, Virginia drastically improved their postseason chances and moved to 11-4 on the season with the game against Notre Dame and one final match with VMI left in the season.