No. 6 men’s lacrosse dominates VMI in in-state clash

Cavaliers bounce back from Duke loss and cruise past the Keydets in penultimate home game

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Junior midfielder Dox Aitken broke the Virginia record for career goals by a midfielder against VMI.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The No. 6 Virginia men’s lacrosse team welcomed VMI to Klӧckner Stadium Tuesday night for an in-state showdown.

The Cavaliers (10-3, 3-1 ACC) routed the Keydets (4-7, 0-5 Southern), cruising to a 24-5 victory thanks to a combination of explosive offense and shutdown defense. 

With the win, Virginia improved to 25-0 against VMI all-time and extended the Cavaliers’ win streak against opponents from the Commonwealth of Virginia to 72.

Virginia kicked off the night with an 11-0 run that saw eight different Cavaliers get on the board. Junior midfielder Dox Aitken, sophomore attackman Matt Moore and freshman attackman Xander Dickson each scored twice during the run. 

While VMI scored its first goal with 4:28 left in the first period, the Cavaliers responded with three straight goals to end the quarter. 

VMI scored once again in the second quarter through an unassisted goal after just 46 seconds, but an 8-1 Virginia run extended the Cavaliers’ lead to 22-3 going into halftime.

Three Virginia players scored at least three goals in the first half. Moore notched a hat-trick, Dickson recorded six goals and an assist and sophomore attackman Ian Laviano contributed three goals and a pair of assists.

After an extraordinary 29 goals scored in the first half, both teams suffered a slump at the beginning of the second half with no goals in the third quarter.

The scoring picked back up in the final period as VMI and Virginia traded two goals each as the final scoreline read 24-5, giving Virginia its ninth win in the last 10 games. 

While the second half was quiet for both teams, Virginia held the ball for long offensive possessions, taking only nine shots total in the half and amassing four shot clock violations.

The Cavaliers dominated the game from top-to-bottom. Virginia outshot VMI 41-24, won 28-33 faceoffs and picked up nearly three times more ground balls. 

“I’m thankful for the energy that we brought on a Tuesday night,” Coach Lars Tiffany said. “This team does not waste an opportunity to play together. They love playing the game of lacrosse together, and it is clearly evident to anyone who comes out to see us practice or compete.”

The game saw a number of impressive feats achieved by several Virginia players. With his two early goals — both coming in the first two minutes of the game, Aitken set the scoring record for a Virginia midfielder with 95 career goals.

Dickson led all players with seven goals — highest tally for a Cavalier since 2017 — and senior defenseman Theo Dol scored his first career goal. The Cavaliers’ 24 goals were the most scored by the team since 2008.

Virginia hosts Marist Saturday at Klӧckner Stadium for the final home game of the season as well as Senior Day. Faceoff is set for 3 p.m.

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