We’re on to No. 14 through No. 11 in our Top 30 Virginia Cavaliers sports moment countdown!
But, before we move on, make sure you’ve checked out our previous three installments first:
After a game that saw Virginia relinquish two leads to SMU in the NCAA quarterfinals, it all came down junior midfielder Joe Bell’s penalty kick in the first overtime session.
Stopped originally by back-up goalie Patrick Michael Hillyard, Bell got to the rebound just before the goalie or approaching defender, and tucked the ball into the back of the net for the win.
With the score, the Hoos were off to the College Cup for the first time since 2014.
When Virginia went down 30-16 with 6:43 left in the first half, I needed a break from the television for a minute. I’ll admit it.
But, while the texts from friends at other schools continued to pour in, I, much like Tony Bennett’s squad, learned to compose myself. “They’ll figure it out,” I thought (hoped).
And, of course, that’s what they did, quickly leaving the shades of 2018’s UMBC game in the dust en route to a commanding 71-56 win.
Now, looking back at this game, I realized just how foolish I was. As we well know, no lead was insurmountable for this group.
Given what ensued, many will overlook UVA’s ACC regular season co-title. And that’s completely fair.
But, even with the national championship, it’s important to not undervalue men’s basketball’s run in conference play.
With their win over Louisville - a rather common occurence at this point - in the regular season finale on Mar. 9, the Hoos claimed at least a share of the ACC for the fourth time in six seasons. In a conference that boasts three of the last five NCAA champions, that’s more than anyone else.
Though nothing will ever quite surpass the insanity that defined basketball’s run from late March through early April, lacrosse sure gave it a run for their money.
We saw part of that in the semifinals, when UVA trailed by two and had just turned the ball over at the 1:27 mark.
The magic started with a Duke turnover - a desperate lifeline the Hoos needed in the waning moments of regulation. Now in possession with just a minute remaining, the Cardiac Cavs took advantage, getting goals from Michael Kraus and then Ian Laviano to tie things up at 12 with 15 seconds to go.
From there, two saves by Alex Rode helped the team get through the first overtime period before Laviano netted the game-winner to send the Cavaliers into the finals.
We’re back with more next week as we work our way into the top ten!