CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – In its first ACC road contest of the season, second-ranked Virginia (6-0, 2-0 ACC) held No. 7/11 North Carolina (5-2, 0-1 ACC) to just one goal in the second half as the Cavaliers managed to win 15-11 at Dorrance Field Thursday night.
All three of Virginia’s starting attackmen in Connor Shellenberger (4 goals, 3 assists), Matt Moore (3 goals, 2 assists) and Payton Cormier (3 goals, 1 assists) scored hat tricks.
First-year goalie Matthew Nunes (6-0) earned the win in net for the Cavaliers, while North Carolina’s Collin Krieg (5-2) suffered the loss. UVA’s defense did not allow a single Tar Heel to score more than two goals, including Chris Gray – the ACC’s top goal scorer in 2021 – who was held to just one goal, his season low.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Tar Heels led 10-9 at the half, which saw three lead changes. Virginia scored the first two points of the game with goals from Griffin Schutz and Jeff Conner. After the Cavaliers grasped a 2-0 lead, the Tar Heels answered with five straight goals, including one extra-man up. Then, UVA tallied five straight goals to retake the lead, 7-5. The two teams found themselves tied two more times at 8-8 and 9-9 before the end of the half, but the Tar Heels scored with 33 seconds remaining in period No. 2 to take the lead heading into intermission.
Virginia held the Tar Heels scoreless in the third, while the Cavaliers tallied five goals to lead 14-10 by the end of the period. Moore’s third goal of the contest evened the score 10-10 before Shellenberger’s third goal gave UVA an 11-10 lead with just under 10:00 to play. Xander Dickson (2 goals) notched his fourth game-winning goal of the year on an assist from Shellenberger as the Hoos took a 12-10 lead. Cormier closed out the third with back-to-back goals and Shellenberger ripped his fourth score of the night in the quarter No. 4. Nunes came up with four crucial saves in the fourth period, including numerous were fired from the crease.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Lars Tiffany on key difference makers in tonight’s game…
“I especially want to credit Cole Kastner with what he’s doing in our ride, [and] how he was able to manage his matchup. He didn’t shut down Chris Gray. You don’t shut down Chris Gray, but he was able to contain him somewhat. And then at the other end of the field, Connor Shellenberger and Matt Moore. They really had to grind to get their shots. They made some big, big goals, especially late in the shot clock. It was an incredible effort all around – the energy. I look especially at Mitch Whalen – someone who’s a walk-on for us. And the heart, throwing his body around, diving, creating loose balls. He was exceptional tonight. He captures the spirit of what Virginia Lacrosse is all about. Get those extra possessions, whatever it takes. Throw your body to the wolves. He did that tonight and it really helped us secure the win.”
- With the win, the Cavaliers improved to 56-32 in the all-time series against UNC.
- Virginia improved its win streak to three straight games over the Tar Heels, and has won the last four matchups in Chapel Hill, N.C.
- UVA, now 6-0, tied for its best start through its first six games in a season since 2014.
- The Cavaliers held UNC scoreless for 21:11, including for the entirety of the third period.
- With three goals and two assists, Matt Moore extended his point streak to 55 games, which dates back to March 31, 2018.
- With his second goal of the night, Moore passed Steele Stanwick on UVA’s all-time goals list. Moore (128 career goals) is now eighth all-time in UVA history.
- With four goals and three assists, Connor Shellenberger has now registered at least five points in 10 straight games, dating back to last season.
- Shellenberger, who entered Thursday’s game third in the nation in assists, has dished out at least three assists in all six of UVA’s games so far this season.
- Short stick defensive midfielder Grayson Sallade collected a team-high six ground balls. Sallade had eight ground balls against the Tar Heels in last year’s NCAA Semifinals victory on May 29, 2021.
- Due to a lower extremity injury, defenseman Cade Saustad’s 23-game starts streak came to an end. It was the longest starts streak on the team entering Thursday’s game.
The Cavaliers take on top-ranked Maryland (5-0) at Audi Field in Washington D.C. on Saturday, March 19 in a rematch of the 2021 national championship game. Opening faceoff is set for 3 p.m. on Big Ten Network. BUY TICKETS