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Virginia tops Loyola in season opener, 12-9

UVA’s year as reigning champions begins with scrappy win over feisty Greyhounds squad

NCAA LACROSSE: MAY 27 NCAA Lacrosse Championships Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Virginia Cavaliers opened their 2020 season with a home victory over the Loyola Greyhounds, 12-9.

Matt Moore led all scorers with 3 goals and 2 assists, with redshirt freshman adding 3 goals for his first career hat trick. Goalie Alex Rode made 19 saves and Petey LaSalla went 10 of 20 at the face-off dot. Aidan Olmstead was Loyola’s leading goal scorer with 2 and an assist; Peter Swindell scored one and assisted on three.

Before the game started, UVA raised its 2019 national championship banner to join the others high above Klöckner Stadium.

The first goal of the season was notched by Ian Laviano on an assist from Michael Kraus just two minutes into the game. Loyola responded with a Logan Devereaux man-up goal two minutes later. But Rode was the star of the first quarter, registering 10 saves and allowing just the Devereaux goal as the UVA offense worked to find its footing. Redshirt freshman Payton Cormier scored his first two career goals, and Moore netted his first of the year to stake the Hoos to a 4-1 lead at the end of the first period.

Loyola opened the second quarter scoring on an Adam Poitras man-up goal. Then it became the Petey LaSalla show: Virginia’s face-off man won six draws in a row and powered a 5-0 run over the next 13 minutes. UVA got goals during the outburst from freshmen Peter Garno and Michael Bienkowski, one from Regan Quinn, and two from Moore to complete his first-half hat trick. The Greyhounds snapped their 13:30 scoreless streak with a Kevin Lindley tally eleven seconds before halftime.

LaSalla won the opening draw of the second half and UVA peppered the goal with five shots in the next two minutes, but a Sam Shafer save led to Lindley scoring in transition to close the gap to five. Goals from Laviano and Cormier stretched Virginia’s lead up to 7, but Bailey Savio kept Loyola in striking distance by winning all seven face-offs of the third quarter; the Greyhounds capitalized with goals by Peter Swindell, Aidan Olmstead, and a man-up score from Devereaux. Neither team took advantage of extra-man opportunities in the final few minutes of the third quarter, and the final period began with the score 11-7 in UVA’s favor.

LaSalla’s return to the face-off dot stymied Savio’s dominance, but Olmstead extended Loyola’s scoring run into the fourth quarter with a goal at 10:44. Aitken broke the Hoos 15-minute scoring draught off a feed from Moore at the 8:39 mark. The two goalies traded saves for much of the rest of the game, with a Dan Wigley goal drawing Loyola within three with under a minute to play. But Loyola could get no closer and UVA escaped with the victory.

The Hoos’ next game is Saturday, February 15th against Lehigh.