The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

No. 6 men’s lacrosse wallops Towson in second half as Shellenberger busts assist record

The Tigers clung determinedly to the Cavaliers in the first half, then disappeared

<p>Connor Shellenberger bears down on goal and shoots.&nbsp;</p>

Connor Shellenberger bears down on goal and shoots. 

Virginia and Towson wrestled in the rain for two tense quarters, locked together, battling back and forth. Then a different kind of storm manifested, as the No. 6 Cavaliers (5-1, 0-0 ACC) pounded in nine consecutive goals, cementing victory in an eventual 19-15 defeat of the Tigers (4-3, 0-0 CAA) Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The game featured many historic moments for the Virginia lacrosse program. Graduate attackman Connor Shellenberger broke the program career assists record and moved to No. 2 on the program career points list. He also delivered seven assists and scored three goals, tying his career highs in assists and points in the process. His 160 career assists now lead all active Division I players. 

The game’s opening action forecasted a stressful day. Towson scored the opening two goals, Virginia scored the next two and Towson ripped off three more to lead 5-2. The minor gulf represented the Cavaliers’ largest deficit this season. Then came Shellenberger, who cradled the ball while stationed behind the goal, then curled around the goal, spun and scored. The narrowing deficit on the scoreboard was cause for celebration from Shellenberger himself as well as on the Virginia sideline. 

Virginia added two more unanswered goals, knotting the game on a transition pole goal. Junior defenseman Ben Wayer typically functions as a ground ball madman — and he did Saturday, scooping up a career-high six — but he also scored two goals, including the one that evened the score.

Wayer has now tallied five or more ground balls in four of Virginia’s six games this season, an absurd statistic. Sophomore midfielder Joey Terenzi collected six ground balls, also a career high. 

A rhythm soon developed, the teams going back and forth, and Virginia eventually carried a 10-9 lead into halftime. 

Towson tied the game at the beginning of the second half, but then the Tigers went silent. The Cavaliers punished their suddenly helpless hosts, bridging the third and fourth quarters with a suffocating 9-0 run. They capitalized on the simple shots and also scored impressive goals — goals that went unanswered by Towson.

The third quarter concluded on one of those impressive goals. With four seconds remaining on the clock, from just inside midfield, Terenzi suddenly leaned right and whipped a sidearm pass toward the goalmouth. Graduate  attackman Payton Cormier shoved his defender aside, caught the ball and scored one of his career-high-tying seven goals. 

Leading 19-10, in an unassailable position, Virginia relented and calmed the engines. The Cavaliers conceded five goals in the final 11 minutes and scored none, making the final margin seem reasonable on the surface and the game competitive, but the scoreboard certainly did not reflect the true nature of who had dominated the matchup. The loss extended Towson’s barren streak against Virginia — the Tigers have, for 23 years, known nothing but defeat against the Cavaliers, having lost 14 contests in a row.

Towson did at least manufacture some success at the faceoff dot, going 19-36. Virginia chiefly deployed junior faceoff man Anthony Ghobriel, who went 13-26 after missing the previous two games with injury. Graduate faceoff man Thomas Colucci went 3-8, and graduate faceoff man Matthew DeSouza went 1-2. 

Sophomore midfielder Mikey Weishaar scored five goals for the Tigers, and graduate attackman Nick DeMaio had six assists. For the Cavaliers, freshman attackman McCabe Millon scored three goals, his fourth hat trick in his first six college games. 

Virginia’s thunderous second half generated rolling and significant momentum. The Cavaliers plan to package that momentum and deposit it Saturday in College Park, where they will confront No. 7 Maryland. The game will start at 3 p.m. and air on Big Ten Network. 


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.