No. 11 men’s lacrosse overpowered by No. 16 Notre Dame in ACC Championship game

Cavaliers fall short in their bid for a conference title, as the Irish dominate

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Senior attacker Mike D'Amario had three goals in the ACC Tournament final against Notre Dame. 

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

The No. 11 Virginia men’s lacrosse team lost to No. 16 Notre Dame in the ACC Championship game at Klöckner Stadium Sunday afternoon, falling short in their bid for a conference title.

The Cavaliers (11-5, 1-3 ACC) fell to the Fighting Irish (8-5, 1-3 ACC) 17-7 — a game dominated by Notre Dame from start to finish.

Virginia struck first on a goal from sophomore attackman Michael Kraus, but never led after that. The Cavaliers kept things close until 2:58 left in the second frame, when Notre Dame went on a 3-0 run to extend their 5-3 lead to 8-3 going into halftime.

The Cavaliers started the second half a man down, and the Fighting Irish capitalized, expanding upon their momentum from the first half to put the game all but out of reach at 11-3.

Although Virginia rallied briefly, cutting the deficit to six, Notre Dame ended the game on a 4-0 run, deflating the Cavaliers to go on to win the ACC Championship.

Kraus put in another good effort for the Cavaliers, finishing with three goals and an assist. Senior attackman Mike D’Amario also added three goals, and freshman midfielder Matt Moore came up with three assists.

But the main story on Sunday was Notre Dame’s dominance. Just like they did when they beat the Cavaliers 9-7 in South Bend, Ind., the Fighting Irish stifled Virginia’s dynamic offense, forcing the Cavaliers to take ill-advised shots and slowing down their transition offense. Senior defenseman John Sexton anchored a stingy Notre Dame defense, which was also able to slow down Duke’s offensive machine Friday night.

“They played good team defense,” freshman attackman Ian Laviano said. “They put in a good game plan against us and they got the ground balls today.”

Notre Dame’s tough defense stepped up, allowing the Irish’s offense significant time of possession. The Fighting Irish were also incisive with the ball, scoring in transition and in 6v6.

“They had the ball a lot,” senior defenseman Scott Hooper said. “They were wearing us down, scoring in transition.”

Despite a tough loss Sunday, Virginia came up with an outstanding performance Friday night against Syracuse that gave them a chance at an ACC title — an opportunity the Cavaliers haven’t had in four years.

Four Virginia players were recognized for their outstanding play by placement in the ACC All-Tournament team: Kraus, D’Amario, Moore and sophomore faceoff specialist Justin Schwenk.

The Cavaliers face VMI next, in their last game of the regular season.

“It’s another quick turnaround, so we’re just going to have to dig into this game, figure out what we did wrong and make those improvements for Tuesday,” Hooper said.

Virginia hosts VMI at Klöckner Stadium Tuesday night, as the Cavaliers await their postseason fate.

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