The No. 11 Virginia men’s lacrosse team beat No. 20 North Carolina on the Tar Heels’ home turf Saturday night, 15-12.
It was the Cavaliers’ (9-3, 1-2 ACC) first win in the ACC since 2014. Virginia’s joy in Kenan Stadium was palpable after the game, with players rejoicing after having completed a crucial step in the program’s rebuilding process.
Virginia won in dominant fashion. After falling behind 2-1 in the first quarter, the Cavaliers never trailed for the rest of the game. Two-consecutive long shots from sophomore midfielder Dox Aitken put Virginia ahead 3-2, and the Cavaliers never looked back.
After North Carolina (6-6, 0-2 ACC) tied it up at three goals apiece to start the second frame, Virginia went on a 6-1 run to end the first half. Crucial in this run was senior attackman Mike D’Amario, who came up with two-consecutive goals to start the run, including a spectacular behind-the-back goal. D’Amario scored four goals on the day.
Virginia, up 9-4 at the half, did not squander their dominant lead like they did against Johns Hopkins, instead extending it to 13-7 near the end of the third quarter. Sophomore attackman Michael Kraus’ play was huge in maintaining this lead. His dominance has been a theme this season, and Kraus continued it Saturday night with three goals and four assists.
The Tar Heels made a promising 5-2 run to end the game, but the game was out of reach. Virginia came up with its first ACC victory, allowing the Cavaliers to largely control their destiny in conference play.
North Carolina, on the other hand, dropped its sixth-consecutive game, and has little hope now of resurrecting their postseason dreams.
Virginia, after a huge, momentum-building victory, approaches one of its biggest games of the season, against Duke this weekend at Klöckner Stadium.
The Blue Devils will come into the contest with some momentum of their own, having just dismantled a solid Notre Dame team 8-2.
All eyes will be on Klöckner this Saturday for a battle of ACC heavyweights.