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No. 2 Virginia men's lacrosse rolls over Johns Hopkins, taking Doyle Smith Cup

The Cavaliers’ offensive explosion squashes the Blue Jays

<p>Virginia sophomore attackman Connor Shellenberger notched three goals and five assists in the Cavaliers' dominant win over Johns Hopkins.</p>

Virginia sophomore attackman Connor Shellenberger notched three goals and five assists in the Cavaliers' dominant win over Johns Hopkins.

On an unseasonably warm Saturday in early March, Virginia took on a Johns Hopkins team looking to rebound from a recent loss to North Carolina. The Cavaliers (5-0, 1-0 ACC) used their high octane offense to put away the Blue Jays (3-3, 0-0 Big Ten) early in the first half, eventually winning 19-8. Virginia and Johns Hopkins began their rivalry in 1904 and have now played 95 times, with Johns Hopkins holding a 61-33-1 lead in the series after Saturday’s game. 

Like last weekend against Syracuse, Virginia was able to generate goals in the first quarter to set the tone for the rest of the game. Sophomore attack Connor Shellenberger began the scoring for the Cavaliers off an assist from graduate student attack Matt Moore, who finished with three assists on the afternoon. 

Later in the first quarter, sophomore defender Cole Kastner stripped the ball from talented Johns Hopkins senior attack Joey Epstein and took the ball coast to coast for a goal to make the score 4-0 Cavaliers. 

To open the second quarter, junior attack Will Cory — who has grown into a bigger role for Virginia this season — scored on an assist from Shellenberger. Cory finished with two goals while Shellenberger had three goals and four assists, bringing his point total to 33 through five games. 

After a quick goal from senior faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla, the Blue Jays were able to put their first goal on the board as junior midfielder Jacob Angelus put the ball in the back of the net to make the score 6-1. Virginia closed the half on a four-goal run to take a 10-1 lead into halftime. 

Johns Hopkins began the scoring in the second half as graduate student midfielder Jack Keogh notched a goal to make the score 10-2. The quick goal for the Blue Jays did not deter Virginia as junior attack Payton Cormier scored off an assist from Moore to kill Johns Hopkins momentum. 

Cormier tied his career high with six goals for the game. Cormier, Moore and sophomore faceoff specialist Gable Braun closed out the scoring for the Cavaliers in the third quarter to take a 17-4 lead into the fourth quarter. 

Saturday was Virginia’s most complete game of the season, as the defense did not allow the Blue Jays attack to get their hands free while the offense moved the ball effectively to find open shooting opportunities. 

“Recent teams have been a little less hesitant to slide,” Coach Lars Tiffany said. “We’ve had to win matchups. Today we had to move the ball. Our offense proved that they can find open people both inside and outside and make those shots.”

In a fourth quarter with the final result no longer in question, Virginia let off the gas, producing only two goals — with graduate student midfielder Regan Quinn notching his first goal of the season before junior midfielder Peter Garno concluded the scoring for the Cavaliers — while allowing four, but that did not matter as they won 19-8, taking home the Doyle Smith Cup. 

Virginia takes on No. 11 North Carolina Thursday night in Chapel Hill, which is the Cavaliers’ first ACC road matchup of the season. The teams face off at 8 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ACC Network.