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No. 2 Virginia men’s lacrosse makes a statement against Towson

The Cavaliers dominated the second half en route to a comfortable win over the Tigers

Coming off a close call against High Point in its previous matchup, Virginia took on Towson at Johnny Unitas Stadium Saturday, looking to start its season with three straight wins. The Cavaliers (3-0, 0-0 ACC) conquered the Tigers (1-2, 0-0 CAA) behind a dominant second-half effort from the offense. 

For the third straight game, Virginia was slow out of the gates, allowing Towson to take a 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Junior midfielder Kyle Berkeley, a Maryland transfer, led the charge in the first quarter for the Tigers as he scored the opening goal along with gathering an assist. 

Cavalier freshman midfielder Noah Chizmar brought a spark to the offense early in the second quarter as he found junior attackman Xander Dickson for a quick fast break goal. On the ensuing faceoff, senior faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla won the ball forward and put the ball in the back of the net to bring it to a one-score game. 

LaSalla finished the game 12 for 22 at the faceoff, which brought him to 604 career faceoff wins, tying former Virginia legend Jack deVillers’ record. LaSalla will undoubtedly break deVillers’ mark next game, cementing himself as an all-time great Cavalier.

Senior midfielder Jack Simmons and sophomore attackman Connor Schellenberger concluded the scoring for the Cavaliers in the first half as Virginia took a 7-6 into halftime. Simmons finished with four goals — a career-high mark — while Schellenberger finished with two goals and three assists. 

“Jack Simmons stepped up for us,” Coach Lars Tiffany said. “We’ve got to win some matchups and give Jack Simmons credit. He stepped up today when those opportunities arose for him”

To start the third quarter, Virginia and Towson scored a goal each before the Cavaliers went on an offensive tear. Starting with eight minutes left in the third quarter, Virginia went on a 9-0 run which was capped off by sophomore midfielder Connell Kumar with five minutes left in the game to make the score 17-7. 

Junior attackman Payton Cormier was dominant during this stretch as he had two goals and one assist over 13 minutes. Cormier finished with four goals and two assists. 

The Cavaliers finally tapped into their offensive potential during this stretch, as the ball was moving around the field with speed, allowing for assisted goals — instead of forcing shots off individual playmaking. After a close first half, this offensive explosion allowed a relaxing end of the game as Virginia won 18-9.

Virginia opens up ACC play this week as they take on No. 6 Syracuse at Klöckner Stadium Saturday at noon. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network.