After a lightning delay that clocked in at two hours and 14 minutes officially, Virginia and Loyola finally took to the field for the NCAA tournament opener. The Hoos fell behind early and were unable to climb back against the tough Greyhounds, falling 14-12 to end the season.
The Greyhounds got on the board first, but back-to-back goals by Virginia put the Hoos on top 2-1. Virginia’s first goal came off of a well-timed interception by first year Ian Laviano:
The Hoos, which had won three of the first four face offs, went into a drought at the X, leading to three Loyola goals in 45 seconds that gave the Greyhounds a 4-2 advantage. Loyola would hold that lead through the end of the first quarter.
Virginia won the opening face off of the second quarter, but Loyola scored first as Kevin Lindley found pay dirt off of Pat Spencer’s Loyola or Patriot League record-setting 56th assist of the season. The Hoos pulled it back to 5-3 with a goal from Matt More on an assist from Michael Kraus.
Loyola went on another mini-run, scoring back-to-back goals on a long pole score and another goal from Orefice. Virginia looked as though they had stopped Loyola’s speedy face off man, but the Wahoo defender’s check sent the ball bouncing past Alex Rode in the cage.
The Greyhounds would build their lead to 10-3 with 6:05 remaining in the second quarter, but back-to-back goals from Moore and Mike D’Amario cut the lead to 10-5 at the half.
Moore had two first-half goals for the Hoos with Laviano, Regan Quinn, and D’Amario having one apiece. In cage, Rode had five first half saves. Loyola edged out the Hoos in shots (23-15), face offs (10-6), and turnovers (7-6). Virginia nabbed more ground balls with 18 to Loyola’s 16 in the first 30 minutes.
Spencer, Orefice, and Lindley all had two goals apiece in the first half for the Greyhounds, and four other players chipping in one goal.
Loyola struck first in the third quarter, but Kraus notched his first of the game to keep the Hoos within five.
Spencer once again found a teammate - this time Jay Drapeau - to give the Greyhounds a 12-6 advantage with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Loyola effectively put the ball away as they pushed the lead to 13-6 on Lindley’s fourth of the day with 1:16 left in the third.
Aitken called his own number with 13:36 left in the game, taking it strong to the goal on the crease and cutting Virginia’s deficit to six goals. With the assist, Aitken became the midfielder with the most points in a single season, passing Matt Poskay’s mark set in 2006.
With this goal, Dox Aitken now holds the UVA single-season midfielder record for points with 48. He previously shared the record with Matt Poskay (2006).— Virginia Men's Lacrosse (@UVAMensLax) May 13, 2018
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Under two minutes later, Aitken struck again to make it 13-8 and invigorate the damp and tired Wahoo fans in attendance. Virginia won the next face off, but were unable to score after a great defensive play by the Greyhounds. Jared Conners returned the favor with a caused turnover, raced the length of the field, and found Laviano for his second of the game and a 13-9 game with 9:35 to play.
Kraus found Aitken for his third of the day with two minutes left, giving Kraus 39 assists on the season, leaving him one shy of becoming the first ever UVA player to score 40 goals and notch 40 assists in a single season.
Conners ripped a long pole goal with 14.6 seconds left to make it 14-12, but it was too little, too late as Loyola was able to run the clock out with the final face off.
Although Virginia failed to make it out of the first round for the third time in as many tries, the Hoos continued to build in Coach Tiffany’s second season. Turnovers, off-ball defense, and goalie play will all need to improve for the Cavaliers, but a 12-6 record and two ACC wins is definitely nothing to dismiss. The future is bright for this squad as the Hoos return significant talent to Charlottesville next year.