No. 10 men’s lacrosse begins conference play at No. 14 Syracuse

Cavaliers hope to impress in their ACC opener against another ranked opponent

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Junior midfielder Dox Aitken has 9 goals already this season.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

After a thrilling victory last week, the No. 10 Virginia men’s lacrosse team will be on the road again to face No. 14 Syracuse Saturday. The two teams are set to meet in an ACC showdown at the Carrier Dome.  

Virginia (2-2, 0-0 ACC) and Syracuse (2-1, 0-0 ACC) will meet for the 35th time with the Orange winning the last four games of the regular season, including three consecutive victories by a one-goal margin. 

Last year, Syracuse edged Virginia in a close 12-11 duel at Klöckner Stadium that saw then-freshman midfielder Tucker Dordevic score an unassisted goal with seconds left to lift the Orange over the Cavaliers. 

Both teams will enter the matchup off wins against ranked teams last weekend. Virginia outlasted then-No. 19 Princeton in overtime, winning the game by a goal from sophomore attackman Ian Laviano after regulation ended.

Syracuse, in a similarly close game, held off then-No. 15 Army West Point to hang on for the 10-8 victory. The Orange produced yet another dominant defensive performance to hand West Point its first loss of the season. 

Both Virginia and Syracuse have several attacking standouts that lead the team on offense as well as impressive defenses capable of frustrating opponents.

For Syracuse, senior attackman Bradley Voigt leads the team with seven goals, while sophomore midfielder Brendan Curry and senior attackman Nate Solomon have scored six apiece. Curry has also contributed four assists, leading the team in points with 10. On the defensive side, junior goalkeeper Drake Porter has had a phenomenal start to the season with 42 saves including 16 against Army alone.

The Cavaliers are led by the attacking quartet of Laviano, sophomore attackman Matt Moore, junior midfielder Dox Aitken and junior attackman Michael Kraus, who have a combined 36 goals. Moore also leads the ACC in both points per game, with 4.75, and assists per game, with 2.5. Defensively, freshman goalkeeper Patrick Burkinshaw has emerged as a potential stalwart for Virginia. His outstanding 24 saves against Princeton set a program record for a freshman and is tied for the most single-game saves in the country this season.

When the two teams meet this weekend, whichever team’s offense is able to break through the opposing defense will have an opportunity to pick up a key early conference win. 

If both Porter and Burkinshaw continue their excellent play, a low-scoring game could come down to the wire. However, if the teams’ talented attackmen come out firing on all cylinders, there could be an old-fashioned shootout.

With both teams hoping to start ACC play with a win, expect an intense battle between Syracuse and Virginia in New York Saturday. Faceoff is slated for noon. 

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