April 1, 2017
RICHMOND – Freshman long-pole Jared Conners scored the game-winning goal with 55.6 seconds left to lift the No. 16 Virginia Cavaliers (6-4) past the No. 12 Richmond Spiders (8-2) on Saturday, 8-7, at Robins Stadium. It was UVA’s seventh one-goal game of the season and fourth in a row.
“We have been in seven one-goal games,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Lars Tiffany. “It was an exciting day of lacrosse for the Commonwealth of Virginia. What a crowd. Over 5,000 people here today. I give a lot of credit to Dan Chemotti and the program he has been able to build in only four years at the University of Richmond.”
Virginia trailed by one goal, 7-6, with 1:56 left after Layne Collins scored unassisted. On the ensuing faceoff Peter Moran of Richmond was called for a cross-check on Ryan Conrad, giving UVA an extra-man opportunity with 1:38 left in the game. Mike D’Amario found Dox Aitken about 10 yards out and the freshman throttled the nylon for the extra-man goal with 1:11 left, tying the game at 7-7. UVA won the following faceoff after Conrad came up with a rugged ground ball. Conrad found Conners streaking down the middle of the field and the first-year scored the long-pole goal from roughly 18 yards out on UR goalie Benny Pugh, the No. 1 goalie in the nation in save percentage and goals against average entering the day.
“Until this game, we have not had a defenseman score a goal,” said Tiffany. “It was really frustrating because while we were at Brown our long poles had scored a lot of goals. Jared [Conners] was ready to take that shot coming off the faceoff. He scored earlier in the game and he really has started to step up and make plays when we needed him to.”
After Conners scored Richmond grabbed the next faceoff and called timeout. Conners then stripped Adrian Nash from about 25 yards out, while Will McNamara picked up the ground ball and UVA ran out the clock to secure the victory.
UVA started the game on a 4-1 run, leading by three after one quarter of play. Conners scored his first career goal in transition 32 seconds into the game. Aitken scored the first of his three on the afternoon at 9:43 in the first quarter. Zed Williams and Mike D’Amario also scored during the spurt.
Richmond held UVA scoreless in the second and third quarters while going on a 4-0 run, taking a 5-4 lead through three quarters of action. AJ Fish broke through for UVA with 13:51 left to play, followed by Aitken’s second goal of the game. Richmond retaliated with two straight goals, setting up the late UVA heroics with 1:56 left to play.
UVA won the battle of shots (41-30) and ground balls (30-29), while Richmond won the battle of faceoffs (12-7), saves (16-12) and had more turnovers (16-9).
Next up for the Cavaliers is a return to ACC play and KlÃƒÆ’Ã†’Â¶ckner Stadium on Sunday, April 9 against North Carolina. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.