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No. 12 Virginia looks to bounce back against Richmond

The Cavaliers look to avenge heartbreaking loss to Johns Hopkins against the Spiders

<p>Sophomore attackman Michael Kraus has put together an especially impressive season, leading the team with 47 points.</p>

Sophomore attackman Michael Kraus has put together an especially impressive season, leading the team with 47 points.

No. 12 Virginia (7-3, 0-2 ACC) returns to Klöckner Stadium for a Saturday clash against in-state competition, a week after the Cavaliers’ devastating loss against Johns Hopkins.

The Cavaliers’ opponent is Richmond (5-4, 2-1 Southern) a team that has put together a solid season despite only playing Division I lacrosse since 2014.

In fact, the Spiders’ first matchup against Division I competition was against Virginia, a close battle that saw the Cavaliers come out on top, 13-12. Since then, the two teams have faced off once every year — a series that Virginia leads 4-0. The most recent contest was another close one with the Cavaliers beating the Spiders 8-7 last season.

Virginia owns a dominant 67-game winning streak against all programs from the Commonwealth of Virginia and will look to keep that streak going Saturday.

More importantly, however, is the importance for Virginia to have a bounce-back victory after their colossal collapse against Johns Hopkins, a game in which the Cavaliers’ seven-goal lead vanished.

The Cavaliers have plenty of talent this year, most of it coming from its youth. Sophomore attackman Michael Kraus and midfielder Dox Aitken share the team lead in goals with 25 apiece, while freshman attackman Ian Laviano trails shortly behind with 24. Kraus has put together an especially impressive season, leading the team with 47 points — he eclipsed the 100-point mark against Johns Hopkins and will look to continue his dominance against the Spiders.

Critical against Richmond and throughout the remainder of the season will be the Cavaliers’ ability to win and maintain possession — particularly after their loss of junior midfielder Ryan Conrad, a team captain who dominated ground balls with his hustle and athleticism. Conrad will be out for the season with a lower extremity injury. Sophomore faceoff specialist Justin Schwenk has been key for Virginia in this area, leading the team in ground balls won with 63 and leading the ACC in faceoff winning percentage of 62.1.

Richmond is coming off a second-place Southern Conference finish, and they are hungry to make it back to the NCAA Tournament.

The in-state clash begins Saturday at 3 p.m. from Klöckner Stadium.

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