The top ranked Virginia Cavaliers won in sloppy fashion against the High Point Panthers, 11-10 on Sunday afternoon. The game was back-and-forth throughout but the ‘Hoos made just enough plays late in the game to seal the win.
Connor Shellenberger led the way for UVA offensively as he dished out five assists for the second straight outing and added a goal as well. He was complemented by his fellow pre-season All-American attackman Matt Moore who bruised his way to a hat-trick.
Defensively, long pole Cade Saustad had a decent outing as he held the always-explosive Ashter Nolting to just two goals on 11 shots. Freshman goalie Mathew Nunes played a massive part in that as he had his coming out party with 16 saves on 26 shots for an incredibly impressive 61.5 save percentage in his second career game.
Fellow-freshman Griffin Schutz initiated the scoring for the Wahoos early in the game. After High Point went up 1-0, Schutz split his man down the middle before finding Payton Cormier for a backside finish. A few possessions later, Schutz beat his man down the opposite alley and switched to his right hand at the last second to sneak the ball past the High Point goalie.
High Point answered shortly thereafter and the two teams entered the second quarter tied at two. At that point, Shellenberger and Moore came to the fore as they each had a hand in the Wahoos’ four goals to take a 6-4 halftime lead.
High Point rattled off two scores to open the second half and tie the score at six. Yet, Lars Tiffany’s group responded in turn with its own four-goal run with two goals from Peter Garno, a third from Moore, and one step-down from Jack Simmons which put Virginia up 10-6.
Nolting scored in the final two minutes of the third to bring High Point a bit closer at 10-7 by the end of the quarter. A goal from the Panthers’ Trey Smith and another from Brayden Mayea cut UVA’s lead back to one before Xander Dickson beat his man to score what would turn out to be the winning goal at the 7:04 mark in the fourth.
Nolting scored his second of the day and brought the contest back within one with 4:08 left, but the Virginia defense remained stout for the remaining four minutes, bolstered by Nunes who seemingly stood on his head. A save with just twenty seconds remaining on his doorstep highlighted the freshman’s breakout performance as he quite literally saved the game for the Wahoos.
With the win, Virginia advances to 2-0 on the season before its first road contest at Towson next weekend which will be followed by the team’s ACC opener at home against Syracuse on February 26th.