Another week, another huge comeback for the Virginia Men’s Lacrosse team. This time, the Cavaliers used a five-goal run in the fourth quarter to topple Maryland in the NCAA quarterfinals, earning the Hoos a spot in Championship Weekend. Fourth year Ryan Conrad led the way for Virginia with four goals — three of which he scored in the final 9:23 of the game — and added an assist and four ground balls.
Things looked dire for the Cavaliers after Maryland went on a five-goal run to turn a 7-7 tie into a 12-7 drubbing with 10:38 left to play in the fourth quarter. Conrad’s second goal of the game made it a 12-8 game with 9:23 left, and neither team would score for the next 6:02 of game time. Maryland looked content to burn clock and take shot clock violations, but Virginia couldn’t take advantage until Conrad broke the stalemate to make it 12-9 and give the Hoos a glimmer of hope.
Ian Laviano, who finished with three goals, closed the gap even more with a goal 20 seconds later off of a Virginia face off win. Maryland’s defense lost Laviano in the chaos and looked confused as to whether they were playing man or zone.
On top of the score, the Hoos drew a flag for unnecessary roughness, giving them a man-up opportunity that Conrad cashed in on to make it 12-11 with 2:41 to play.
Petey LaSalla won another face off, but the Hoos turned the ball over before they could get a shot off. Maryland wouldn’t be able to get the ball out of their own end, however, turning it over on Virginia’s effective and brutal clear ride game.
With the extra possession, the Hoos were able to tie things up at 12 with just over a minute left. Kraus was credited with the goal on a weird play as his shot appeared to rattle off the cage. Despite winning the final face off of regulation, Virginia was unable to convert, and the game went to overtime. Again, the Hoos came up with the OT face off, and Matt Moore converted on a Kraus assist just 45 seconds into the extra period.
The game wasn’t without controversy at the end as — upon replay — it looked like Kraus’s shot certainly hit the crossbar. Virginia’s players played through and would have retained possession had the referees not stopped the game to call his shot a goal. There was still over a minute left, so Virginia very well could have scored.
It was a tough game for the refs as early in the game they credited Maryland with a goal, despite Jared Bernhardt clearly having stepped in the crease.
Regardless of the call by the referees, Virginia played with never-ending heart down the stretch as Maryland seemed to take their foot off the gas and rest on the five-goal lead. LaSalla was fabulous, winning 11 of his final 12 face offs — including 8-of-9 in the fourth quarter and overtime — and won 67% of his attempts in the game.
Maryland came into the game as one of the best clearing teams in the country at 88%, but Virginia held them to 20-of-24, none bigger than the one in the fourth quarter.
Now, Virginia is heading back to the Final Four for the first time since 2011 — when the Hoos won it all. They’ll face another ACC foe as they get the winner of Duke-Notre Dame.
After the game, the Hoos took to the locker room to celebrate in style: