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No. 3 men’s lacrosse falls to No. 4 Duke in an overtime thriller, 13-12

The Cavaliers were unable to take down the Blue Devils in an all-time classic

<p>Graduate student attackman Charlie Bertrand looked to have the game-winning goal with seven seconds left in regulation, but the two-time Division II Player of the Year was called for falling into the goal mouth, nullifying the goal.&nbsp;</p>

Graduate student attackman Charlie Bertrand looked to have the game-winning goal with seven seconds left in regulation, but the two-time Division II Player of the Year was called for falling into the goal mouth, nullifying the goal. 

The Virginia men’s lacrosse team — riding high off of an 18-16 win over North Carolina — fell in overtime to a visiting Duke squad that was coming off of its first loss of the season to Notre Dame Saturday. The Cavaliers (9-3, 2-3 ACC) were unable to hang on to a late lead, as Duke senior attackman and Charlottesville native Joe Robertson netted his third goal of the game in a wild overtime period to give the Blue Devils (11-1, 3-1 ACC) the 13-12 victory. 

Scoring opened up with a brother-to-brother assisted goal for Duke, as Robertson found his older brother, graduate attackman Phil Robertson, to get the Blue Devils on the board. Virginia was able to capitalize on a small run to follow, most notably ended by redshirt freshman attackman Connor Shellenberger’s incredible goal. Shellenberger dodged from X, making his defender fall in the process, and finished with an incredible shot right under the crossbar. 

Duke then went on a run of its own, notching the next five tallies. Five different goal scorers contributed to this run, with star graduate attackman Michael Sowers and star freshman attackman Brennan O’Neill netting their first goals of the contest.

Senior attackman Charlie Bertrand stopped the bleeding for the Cavaliers by registering his second goal of the contest, assisted by sophomore midfielder Peter Garno. The two teams then traded goals before Bertrand was able to score yet again, notching a hat trick with just 34 seconds left in the half, sending the Cavaliers to the locker room down 7-6.

Coming out of the break, senior midfielder Dox Aitken tied up the game at 7-7 with his second goal of the game. The two teams then traded two goals apiece, with Sowers scoring his second goal to put the Blue Devils up 9-8. Just seven seconds later, however, junior faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla took a faceoff win straight down to knot things back up at 9-9. 

Virginia capitalized on the energizing LaSalla goal with two more — with sophomore attackman Payton Cormier getting his second of the evening and Aitken getting his third. Sowers was able to put the Blue Devils back within one with a hat trick of his own, keeping Duke down 11-10 going into the final frame.

Senior attackman Matt Moore opened up the fourth quarter with his second goal of the day, giving the Cavaliers a two-goal lead with just over 14 minutes left in the contest. This would be the last Cavalier goal of the game, however, as O’Neill’s hat trick and junior midfielder Garrett Leadmon’s first goal tied the game at 12 with under two minutes remaining. 

LaSalla was able to win the crucial ensuing faceoff, giving Virginia the ball with under 90 seconds on the clock. With just seven seconds left on the clock, Bertrand took a diving leap across the front of the goal that winded up with the ball in the back of the net but was ultimately ruled no goal due to a crease violation, sending the game to overtime.

LaSalla then won yet another crucial faceoff, again giving the Cavaliers possession in the overtime period. Moore’s game-winning shot attempt was wide, as were the following three shots by Aitken — whose last shot was saved by graduate goalie Mike Adler and resulted in a change of possession and a Duke timeout.

Coach John Danowski drew up a play for Sowers, but his star attackman was unable to connect as senior goalie Alex Rode came up with a clutch stop to keep the Cavaliers alive. However, in the transition attempt forward to win the game, Duke sophomore long-stick midfielder Tyler Carpenter caused a turnover on Aitken, giving the Blue Devils one last shot to win the game in the first overtime period.

Joe Robertson was able to cash in for the Blue Devils, ending the game. Robertson has a flair for the dramatic, as his goal just two weeks ago beat No. 5 North Carolina in overtime. 

“Give Joe Robertson credit,” Coach Lars Tiffany said. “He found a little opening — it was a really great shot by him. It was a defense where we felt confident … We said ‘Kyle [Kology] win this matchup,’ but unfortunately Joe [Robertson] made a heck of a play.”

LaSalla was dominant yet again for the Cavaliers, winning 18 out of 27 faceoffs. He gave the potent Virginia offense as many opportunities as possible while simultaneously keeping the ball away from Duke’s star studded attack group of Sowers, O’Neill and Joe Robertson — who combined for 13 points on the day.

“I am so grateful for this team,” Tiffany said. “The loss stings and it really, really hurts, but man are we proving we can get better each week, and we’re proving we’re on a mission.”

The Cavaliers look to regroup and attack this mission with a very quick turnaround. Virginia hosts Utah Saturday at 12 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium, and the game will be televised on ESPNU.