TOWSON, Md. – After trailing 4-1 at the end of the first quarter, No. 1 Virginia (3-0) out-scored Towson (1-2) 17-5 the rest of the way as the Cavaliers defeated the Tigers 18-9 Saturday (Feb. 19) afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Nine different UVA players found the back of the net, including Jack Simmons and Payton Cormier, who scored a game-high four goals apiece. Simmons’ four goals is a career best and marks the first hat trick of his career.
First-year goalie Matthew Nunes (3-0) played for 53:36 and earned his third career win in as many tries.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Towson led 4-1 at the end of the first quarter, despite the Cavaliers leading in shots, 14-7. Virginia responded by tallying five straight goals from five different Cavaliers in the first 5:00 of play in the second. The Tigers halted UVA’s run at the 8:18 mark in the second quarter, but still trailed 6-5. Both teams would score once more before the end of the half at which point the Cavaliers led 7-6. Simmons and Connor Shellenberger (2 goals, 3 assists) led UVA at the break with two goals each. Settling in towards the end of the first period, the Cavaliers’ defense forced 12 Towson turnovers – six in both periods.
Virginia continued its offensive spree into the third quarter and scored the final six goals of the period, three of which were scored by Cormier. Connell Kumar and Patrick McIntosh both notched their first goals of the season in the second half. The Cavaliers fired 17 of their 33 total shots on goal in the second half, while holding Towson to just seven shots on goal in the final 30 minutes of play.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Lars Tiffany on executing in one-on-one matchups…
“We had a big challenge today and we didn’t do well early on winning those one-on-one matchups. We often see teams slide and double to us. That was tough-going early on because you start looking to not your top players to necessarily win the matchups, but who has the short-stick [defensive] middie. Jack Simmons stepped up for us, because now it’s a day where they’re not supporting the man being dodged as much as some other teams do. We’ve got to win some matchups and give Jack Simmons credit. He stepped up today when those opportunities arose for him”
- Virginia now leads the all-time series 15-3, including an 8-2 mark in Towson, Md. Head coach Lars Tiffany improved to 2-0 all-time against the Tigers, having won last year’s matchup 20-11.
- The Cavaliers forced 21 turnovers while only producing 11 giveaways, including zero in the first quarter. It marked the most turnovers by a UVA opponent since North Carolina’s 22 giveaways in last year’s NCAA semifinals on May 29, 2021.
- With four goals, Jack Simmons set his career high in goals and notched his first career hat trick.
- Payton Cormier also finished with four goals to nab his 19th career multi-goal game and 13th career hat trick.
- With 12 wins at the center-X today, Petey LaSalla tied Jack deVilliers’ record of 604 career faceoff wins. LaSalla did so in just 47 career games. LaSalla finished 12-of-22 on faceoffs Saturday.
- In his eighth career game, Will Cory made his first career start. Cory found the back of the net on his only shot of the contest and added one ground ball.
- Matt Moore, who did not play in Saturday’s game due to a lower extremity injury, had his 19 consecutive games started streak come to an end.
Virginia hosts Syracuse (1-0) on Saturday, Feb. 26 in the first of two regular-season meetings between the two teams. Opening faceoff from Klöckner Stadium is scheduled for noon and is slated to broadcast on ACC Network.