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Dox Aitken provides game-winning goal to take out No. 6 Notre Dame

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Cormier shines on attack as Rode comes up with a huge save late to secure the Virginia win.

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

Virginia Men’s Lacrosse head coach Lars Tiffany affectionately calls the fourth quarter “Dox Time,” a nod to the Cavaliers’ All-American midfielder, Dox Aitken. He came up big for the Hoos on Saturday afternoon, scoring the decisive goal to propel No. 9 Virginia to a 12-11 win over No. 6 Notre Dame at Arlotta Stadium in South Bend.

Aitken finished with two goals and two assists in the upset win, but none was bigger — or harder — than his rip from outside with 2:28 left in the game that broke an 11-11 tie.

Petey LaSalla, who went 13-for-25 (52%) against two of the best face off men in the country, got a big win at the X after Aitken’s goal. A turnover near midfield with 1:56 remaining gave Notre Dame a chance at the equalizer, but the Irish turned it over, and Virginia was able to successfully clear.

The Irish would get one more chance at tying the game after a turnover with 22 seconds remaining. Will Yorke — who finished with five goals for ND — had a good look at the cage with three seconds left, but Virginia goalie Alex Rode came up with a huge save to secure the win. Rode finished with nine saves and two ground balls in the win.

Payton Cormier led the Hoos with five goals, and Ian Laviano added three goals of his own in the win. Matt Moore had one goal and an assist as Virginia assisted nine of its 12 goals.

Defensively, Virginia looked better than they had all season. They communicated well, slid at the right times, and forced several shot clock violations against the methodical Notre Dame offense. The short-stick midfielders were susceptible at times to the dodging Irish attackers, but the Hoos gave up just eight goals in set 6-on-6 defense.

Virginia finished with 14 turnovers, nine of which came in the first half as the Hoos let the Irish back into the game. The Hoos had just three turnovers in the second half before Notre Dame turned to double-teams to get possession back.

Aitken opened the scoring for Virginia as the Hoos got out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. The second quarter was all Notre Dame as the Irish outscored Virginia 7-2 to take a two goal lead into the break. There were three ties in the first half, with Laviano somehow getting this finish on the crease to knot things up at 4-4:

Cormier scored the first two goals out of the halftime break, tying the game up at seven. Laviano took advantage of a broken play to give the Hoos an 8-7 advantage; Virginia’s first lead since it was 3-2 with 10:53 left in the second quarter. After Yorke’s fourth of the game tied things at eight, Cormier gave the Hoos the lead back with this gorgeous finish on the crease:

Virginia built its lead to 10-8 with just over two seconds left in the third with this incredible grab and finish by Laviano:

Laviano took a cheap shot by the Notre Dame defender that gave the Hoos a man-up opportunity to open the fourth quarter, but Entenmann came up with a save. Notre Dame would go on to cut Virginia’s lead to one, but Cormier responded with his fifth of the day to make it 11-9 with 8:32 remaining.

The Irish wouldn’t go away, scoring two straight to knot things at 11-11 with just under 3:30 to play. In a potentially terrifying turn of events, Entenmann (yes, the goalie) had a wide open one-on-one look at the cage after the Virginia ride broke down. His shot would go wide, Rode would back it up, and Aitken would score the game winner on the ensuing possession.

Virginia improves to 7-2 on the season and 1-2 in the ACC with the win. The Hoos have four ranked wins so far, and welcome Richmond to Charlottesville on April 3 in their next outing.