No. 9 men’s lacrosse meets No. 15 Johns Hopkins Saturday for a rivalry clash

Cavaliers hope to win fifth consecutive game and claim the Doyle Smith Cup

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Sophomore attackman Ian Laviano is Virginia's leading goalscorer with 22 goals this season. 

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

On a four-game winning streak, the No. 9 Virginia men’s lacrosse team will travel to Baltimore to play No. 15 Johns Hopkins and continue the two storied programs’ rivalry. 

Virginia (5-2, 2-0 ACC) and Johns Hopkins (4-3, 0-0 Big 10) will meet for the 94th time Saturday at Homewood Field with the all-time record of 61-31-1 favoring the Blue Jays. While Johns Hopkins has historically held the advantage, the Cavaliers have recently begun to close the gap, winning 18 of the last 30 and 9 of the last 16 meetings.  

Both teams will enter the weekend off the heels of multiple impressive victories. Virginia has won four straight games, including wins over No. 12 Syracuse and No. 11 Notre Dame. Johns Hopkins has also played well, winning four of its last five games and recording a statement win over then-No. 10 North Carolina.

The Cavaliers have earned a reputation of winning games in overtime this season with several tight victories against ranked opponents in recent weeks.

On offense, Virginia is led by the high-powered attacking quartet of junior attackman Michael Kraus, junior midfielder Dox Aitken and sophomore attackmen Ian Laviano and Matt Moore. The four players have scored 69 of Virginia’s 87 goals.

Kraus has been especially lethal during Virginia’s current four-game winning stretch, posting 11 goals and 9 assists over that time. 

Defensively, Virginia have received a lot of help from junior defenseman Jared Conners who has 17 caused turnovers and 21 ground balls to go along with a pair of goals. With his fantastic play so far this season, Conners earned a spot on the 2019 Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List. The award is presented annually to the best NCAA lacrosse player in the country.

For Johns Hopkins, freshman attackman Joey Epstein and senior attackman Kyle Marr have each contributed 15 goals this year, while junior attackman Cole Williams has recorded eight goals and nine assists.

While the Blue Jays are undoubtedly a tough team, their minus-seven goal differential suggests that their defense has vulnerabilities and their offense may not be able to keep up in high-scoring games. 

If Virginia’s well-rounded offense can step up and attack the home team’s defense from many directions, Johns Hopkins will have a difficult time sending the Cavaliers home with a loss.     

With both teams looking to extend their win streaks, expect an intense clash when the Cavaliers travel to Johns Hopkins Saturday. Face-off is set for 6 p.m.

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