Never has anything come easy for this young Virginia men’s lacrosse team. Saturday was no exception, as the Cavaliers opened their second season under Coach Lars Tiffany with a hard-fought 13-12 double overtime victory win over a difficult opponent in No. 13 Loyola.
Virginia (1-0) showed impressive resilience against the Greyhounds (0-1), rallying from five goals down to win. The difference in double overtime was a spectacular individual play from sophomore star midfielder Dox Aitken, who took the faceoff straight to goal. It was a gamble that paid off, taking Loyola’s defense by surprise. In addition to the faceoff, Aitken provided two assists for the Cavaliers.
Saturday’s game was a game of runs. It started off all Greyhounds, as they exploited a young Cavalier defense to jump to a 7-3 lead at halftime. Virginia’s highly-touted offense had a lackluster first-half performance, with only 15 shots. Loyola, on the other hand, challenged Cavaliers sophomore goalie Griffin Thompson early with a barrage of shots, having 29 by halftime.
After halftime, everything changed for Virginia’s offense. After Loyola extended their lead to 8-3, the Cavaliers’ attack woke up, tearing the Greyhounds’ defense apart in a 7-0 run. Freshman attacker Ian Laviano provided a major spark in this run, scoring three of his five goals on the day. Tiffany has praised Laviano’s work ethic and natural talent in practice and said he was not surprised at the freshman’s outstanding performance.
Up 12-9 with 9:55 remaining in regulation, the Cavaliers appeared to be headed for a victory. But the game of runs was not quite over. The Greyhounds came roaring back, tying the game at 12 apiece and sending it to overtime. In this period, both teams held each other scoreless — sending the game to double overtime.
The rest was history, as Aitken led Virginia to its first win and a great start to the season. The Cavaliers will take this crucial momentum to Drexel next Saturday in the Dragons’ first game of the season.