No. 12 men’s lacrosse loses 14-13 thriller to No. 13 High Point

Cavaliers’ strong start is not enough in up-and-down game

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Freshman midfielder Jeff Conner scored a crucial goal to cut the deficit to one late in the game. 

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

Following a 1-1 start to the year, the No. 12 Virginia men’s lacrosse team lost a tight match 14-13 to No. 13 High Point Monday at Klöckner Stadium.

Virginia (1-2, 0-0 ACC) scored three consecutive goals in under five minutes to kick off the game, securing an early 3-0 lead. Sophomore attackman Matt Moore got things started with his fifth goal of the season. Junior midfielder Dox Aitken and sophomore attackman Ian Laviano each added a goal soon after Moore’s opener.

Before the Cavaliers could extend their lead any further, High Point (4-0, 0-0 Big South) responded with a 5-0 run spanning the first and second quarters. Sophomore attackman Asher Nolting — one of the Panthers’ top goal scorers — kicked off High Point’s run. 

In the final eight minutes of the quarter, the Cavaliers scored four more goals, and the Panthers added two as the first half ended with the game knotted at 7-7. 

In addition to being tied at halftime, Virginia and High Point were neck-and-neck statistically too. Virginia only had one more shot and one more groundball than the visitors. The two teams were also level in shots on goal. 

Just like in the first half, Moore started the scoring in the second half with an unassisted goal. Moore’s second of the day was the first of four goals scored in a matter of 30 seconds in the third quarter. 

The Cavaliers and the Panthers went back and forth the entire period, with Virginia barely holding onto a 12-11 lead going into the final 15 minutes. 

High Point scored three straight in the fourth quarter to take a 14-12 lead with two minutes left. Virginia freshman midfielder Jeff Conner notched a crucial goal to cut the deficit to one with a little over a minute remaining in the game. 

The Panthers won the ensuing faceoff which meant the Cavaliers had to get aggressive to try to force a turnover. While High Point were able to take 40 seconds off the clock, Virginia sophomore goalkeeper Alex Rode caused a turnover to give the Cavaliers a chance. Coach Lars Tiffany then called a timeout with just 12 seconds left to set up the game’s final play. 

The Cavaliers had an opportunity to tie the score late in the game as Moore got a shot off from point-blank range, but a save from High Point senior goalkeeper Tim Troutner Jr. secured the Panthers an impressive road win.

“Let’s first give credit to the High Point goalie,” Tiffany said. “What a fantastic performance all game with 17 saves. Especially in the fourth quarter he shut the door on us for the most part, we couldn’t sneak one by him.”

High Point’s offense was led by Nolting’s four-goal performance, while eight Panthers supplied the other 10 goals. After High Point took care of No. 2 Duke earlier in the month, the undefeated Panthers produced yet another statement win against Virginia, solidifying their status as a top team. 

For the Cavaliers, Laviano, Moore and Aitken combined for nine of the team’s thirteen goals, while Moore also contributed four assists. All-ACC junior attackman Michael Kraus was held to no goals and just one assist.

“We’ve allowed our men to play fast and enjoy competing, throwing the ball, and taking chances,” Tiffany said. “But there were … some where we forced the issue a little too early.”

Virginia will next travel to New Jersey to face Princeton Saturday Feb. 23, for the team’s second road game of the season. Face-off is set for 12 p.m.

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