No. 18 men’s lacrosse beats Robert Morris on Senior Night
Virginia finishes 5-2 at home on season
Coming off of a tough loss two nights ago to ACC rival North Carolina, the No. 18 Virginia men’s lacrosse team was ready to get back onto the field and compete. With Tuesday night being the team’s home finale, the Cavaliers (8-5, 0-3 ACC) were determined to end their 2017 home campaign on a high note.
The Cavaliers did not disappoint, coming away with a comfortable 13-7 win over Robert Morris at Klöckner Stadium. With the win, Virginia successfully finished its 2017 season three games over .500, as the team ended up with a 5-2 record at home.
Virginia started the game off on fire. Once senior attackman Ryan Lukacovic scored with just under 10 and a half minutes to go in the first quarter, Virginia rattled off two more goals within the next minute and a half as part of a quick 3-0 run. The rest of the first quarter would be all Virginia, as the team dominated — putting up six total goals and blanking Robert Morris (8-4, 4-0 NEC) to go up 6-0.
Freshman attackman Michael Kraus said Virginia took advantage of the opportunities it was presented with.
“We really harp on capitalizing on opportunities that we can get, and if you can start 6-0 like that right from the beginning, that’s what we want,” Kraus said. “[We were] a little slow in the middle, but then we started picking it up again … That start was really what propelled us to get this W for our seniors.”
With it being Senior Night, coach Lars Tiffany said he tried to start as many seniors as he could, and he was pleased to see Virginia with the lead when he put his normal starters back into the game.
“What was really exciting is we have a new tradition here at Virginia [that is] an old tradition for our staff — on Senior Night, [we] make sure as many seniors start as possible,” Tiffany said. “For us to be up 1- or 2-0 before we subbed them out and put our normal starters in … [It] was really exciting.”
However, the Cavaliers’ comfortable 6-0 lead evaporated quickly, as Robert Morris stepped up its game offensively and defensively in the second quarter, outscoring Virginia 4-1 to pull back into the match. Virginia’s once six-goal lead was cut in half into a three-goal lead, and the Cavaliers headed into halftime only sporting a 7-4 lead.
After a tough second quarter, the Cavaliers came out of halftime reenergized and refocused — stepping up defensively in the third quarter and not allowing Robert Morris to score. Virginia also remained aggressive on offense and notched three more goals to push the score up to 10-4, regaining its six-goal lead.
Neither team dominated the fourth quarter, which benefited Virginia. Robert Morris — needing to go on a big run to get back into the match — was unable to gain any momentum, allowing the Cavaliers to tie the Colonials 3-3 in goals scored and come away with a comfortable 13-7 win.
Freshman goalie Griffin Thompson put together a terrific effort, finishing the game with a career-high 18 saves. Tiffany said he was pleased with what he saw from the freshman.
“[Thompson] just is making so many saves,” Tiffany said. “Without the herculean effort, we’re in a dogfight … That was really, really an impressive effort on his part.”
Tiffany said it was important to win a game against a good team like Robert Morris.
“It’s a big win,” Tiffany said. “There may be some people watching right now who don’t know who Robert Morris is or where they’re from, but in the lacrosse world, they’re a significant program [with] an 8-3 record coming in here.”
Virginia will now travel to Durham, N.C. to take on No. 8 Duke Saturday. Saturday’s match will be the regular season finale for the Cavaliers and is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at Koskinen Stadium.