Men’s lacrosse takes on Loyola in NCAA Tournament clash

The Cavaliers set to travel to Maryland in an epic rematch against the Greyhounds

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Freshman attackman Ian Laviano (left) and sophomore attackman Michael Kraus (right) will be key in Virginia's matchup Saturday.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia men’s lacrosse team will return to the postseason for the first time since 2015, landing a berth in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. This is a major landmark in Coach Lars Tiffany’s revitalization of the lacrosse program, as the Cavaliers have already made the leap back to the NCAA Tournament in Tiffany’s second year of coaching.

This marks Virginia’s 38th tournament appearance overall, and the Cavaliers have won five NCAA Tournament titles.

Virginia (12-5) will travel to Baltimore, Md. to take on No. 6 seed Loyola (12-3) on Saturday night. The Cavaliers took down the Greyhounds 13-12 in double overtime in Virginia’s first game of the season at Klöckner Stadium. 

The Cavaliers can’t underestimate the strength of their opponent. Loyola has been one of the nation’s best lacrosse teams this year. They dominated the Patriot League, winning their conference championship. The Greyhounds’ experienced defense and solid 6v6 offense have consistently challenged opposition. Junior attackman Pat Spencer leads to way for Loyola on offense, with a whopping 31 goals and 55 assists on the year.

Loyola comes into the game riding the momentum of a seven-game winning streak, including a 15-8 victory over Lehigh for the conference championship.

Virginia, after dropping a contest against Notre Dame for the ACC title, bounced back with a 17-8 win over VMI.

The Cavaliers have the opportunity to win their first NCAA Tournament game since 2012 Saturday. They have the team to do it, and are matched up with an opponent they can beat.

Their first contest against the Greyhounds was a thriller, and showed the team’s young firepower that would carry the Cavaliers throughout the year. Freshman attackman Ian Laviano led the way with five goals, and sophomore midfielder Dox Aitken’s late-game heroics proved to be the difference. Sophomore faceoff specialist Justin Schwenk, who broke the record for most faceoffs won in a season at Virginia, also showcased his outstanding play in the game against Loyola, winning 18 of 29 faceoffs.

The play of these three and star sophomore attackman Michael Kraus will certainly be key in powering Virginia’s fast-paced style of play Saturday.

This matchup definitely has a penchant for excitement. Four of the last five contests between Loyola and Virginia ended in one-goal Cavaliers wins.

Tune in Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. to witness what promises to be a great game.

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