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No. 2 Virginia men’s lacrosse gets a commanding win against No. 9 Syracuse

The Cavaliers got out to an 8-1 lead in the first quarter that helped them to their first ACC win of the season

<p>Freshman attackman Griffin Schutz notched three goals for the Cavaliers in the win over Syracuse.</p>

Freshman attackman Griffin Schutz notched three goals for the Cavaliers in the win over Syracuse.

In its ACC opener, No. 2 Virginia men’s lacrosse picked up a 20-11 win over No. 9 Syracuse — its largest win against Syracuse since the series began in 1938. At Klöckner Stadium Saturday, the Cavaliers (4-0, 1-0 ACC) pulleds away from the Orange (1-2, 0-1 ACC) due to a strong offensive performance led by sophomore attack Connor Shellenberger. Shellenberger posted a game-high seven points with three goals and four assists. 

Virginia got off to a fast start, scoring the first four goals. The first came in transition with senior midfielder Grayson Sallade finding graduate student attack Matt Moore. The second came from junior attack Payton Cormier after picking up a ground ball right in front of the goal. The next two goals came from graduate student midfielder Jack Peele and freshman attack Griffin Schutz, respectively, to bring the score to 4-0. 

After Syracuse responded with its first goal of the day, the Cavaliers proceeded to score another four goals to close out the first quarter. Moore scored the first goal in the run for the Cavaliers from a Shellenberger assist on a man-up opportunity. The goal was set up by a forced turnover by sophomore defender Cole Kastner, who caused four turnovers throughout the game. 

Junior attack Xander Dickson, Schutz and junior attack Will Cory provided the final three goals of the first quarter for Virginia, bringing the team to an 8-1 lead. 

On the defensive side, freshman goalie Matthew Nunes posted multiple impressive saves to limit scoring. Nunes finished the day with 15 saves, helping him to improve to 4-0 in his career. 

Syracuse responded in the second quarter with two quick goals before Cormier scored two straight goals – both assisted by Dickson – to bring the score to 10-3. Shellenberger added a tally before the Orange concluded the half with two more goals of its own. 

The Orange started the second half strong with two goals before Schutz was able to find the back of the net to make it 12-7. Syracuse then cut Virginia’s lead to three, swinging the momentum of the game. 

The Cavaliers silenced the Orange by going on a 6-0 run to close out the third quarter. Senior midfielder Jack Simmons sparked the Cavaliers with a goal assisted by Sallade. Then, Simmons managed to get his defender to trip on the back of the net before scoring his second of the day to extend the lead to 13-9. 

Graduate student midfielder Evan Zinn then added a goal, using his speed in transition to extend the lead to six. Shellenberger added another two goals before senior midfielder Petey LaSalla scored quickly from a face-off with seconds left in the third quarter. 

LaSalla won 19 of his face-offs against Syracuse and passed Jack deVilliers’ all-time mark of 604 to become Virginia’s all-time leader in career faceoff wins. 

To begin the fourth quarter, Moore scored his third goal of the day before Syracuse responded to make the score 19-10. Moore’s goal pushed him past former teammate Dox Aitken to move into No. 11 on Virginia’s all time scoring list with 124 goals. 

Junior midfielder Griffin Cook then scored his third goal of the day for the Orange. On the ensuing possession after another Kastner-forced turnover, Shellenberger found freshman midfielder Noah Chizmar in transition to conclude the scoring 20-11. 

The Cavaliers will return to action at Klöckner Stadium on Saturday when they host No. 11 Johns Hopkins. The game will begin at 1 p.m. and will be streamed on ACC network.