CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (1-0) used a strong first half to outlast the No. 14 Loyola Greyhounds (0-1) on Saturday afternoon, 12-9, at Klöckner Stadium.
Cavalier goalie Alex Rode tied his career high with 19 saves, including 13 in the first half as Virginia built a 9-3 heading into intermission.
HOW IT HAPPENED
UVA opened the game on a 4-1 run in the first quarter, netting goals by Ian Laviano, Matt Moore and two from Payton Cormier. Moore’s unassisted score at 3:16 in the first capped the run. After Loyola scored an extra-man goal at 13:42 by Adam Poitras, via a Aidan Olmstead helper, The Cavaliers reeled off five-straight goals, taking a commanding 9-2 lead.
Peter Garno started the spurt with his first collegiate goal, while Moore scored two more goals and assisted another. Michael Bienkowski capped the run on a Laviano assist. The seven-goal UVA lead was insurmountable for the Greyhounds, despite finishing the game on a 7-3 streak.
UVA STAT LEADERS
• A Matt More
3 goals, 2 assists
• M Payton Cormier
• A Ian Laviano
2 goals, 1 assist
• GK Alex Rode
19 saves, 6 GBs, 2 CTs
• LSM Jared Conners
6 GBs, 3 CTs
— Virginia Men’s Lacrosse (@UVAMensLax) February 8, 2020
• Cormier, Garno and Bienkowski all scored their first career goals
• Virginia is 52-34-1 all-time in season openers
• Michael Kraus has at least one point in 50-straight games, which ranks No. 2 in the nation
• Virginia owns a 148-49 all-time record at Klöckner Stadium
• Virginia won its first game as the No. 1 team (USILA coaches poll) in the nation since beating No. 9 North Carolina on April 7, 2012 in Chapel Hill.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
“I loved how physical we played today. We came out with really good energy. We probably had too many penalties because of that physicality and energy, but that’s the style of lacrosse we want to play and we just have to rely on our man-down defense to be solid. We did a decent job man-down today, but boy, the guy behind us [Alex Rode] is who bailed us out and allowed us to breathe a little better with Alex Rode being such a wall in the cage. Seeing an extension of what he did last May, and we’ve seen that in practice and throughout the scrimmages, and it was really wonderful to see that come to fruition in the first game of 2020. Offensively you can see how we can go on big runs. Certainly not happy with how we played lacrosse in the second half offensively. Give credit to Loyola’s zone defense and their goalie play, but I thought we became a little tight and we have to make sure we aren’t going a little shorter with our possessions and that we’re playing a little more free and looser. You could feel a little tension there. We scored three goals in the second half and let’s give them [Loyola] credit, but we got to go back and really understand how to break down a zone defense and also who’s going to step up and make plays in big moments. Maybe this is a little bit of a challenge for a team who was used to coming from behind last year and now we’re playing a good opponent, Loyola, and now we have a lead. How do we deal with playing with a lead? I don’t know if we passed that test with flying colors. I’d probably give us a C. Good enough to win, we’re happy about that. But we can do a better job in that situation.” – Lars Tiffany
UVA welcomes Lehigh to Klöckner Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 15. The game will be broadcast live on ACCNX at 1 p.m.