CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – After trailing 2-1 at the end of the first quarter, No. 7 Virginia (8-2, 4-0 ACC) scored 10 of the game’s next 12 goals to down No. 15/16 North Carolina (7-4, 0-3 ACC) 11-4 Saturday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium. The Tar Heels’ four goals scored are their fewest in a single game since 2006 and under head coach Joe Breschi.
First-year goalie Matthew Nunes (8-2) earned the win, while North Carolina’s Collin Krieg (7-4) suffered the loss. Nunes turned away 14 UNC shots. Payton Cormier led UVA’s offensive effort with four goals on nine shots and one assist. Midfielder Jeff Conner posted a game-high three assists in addition to tallying his fifth goal of the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Cormier scored the game’s first goal less than two minutes in, but the Tar Heels quickly gained the lead after scoring back-to-back goals in the first nine minutes of play. UVA tied the game 2-2 in the second after Xander Dickson found Evan Zinn, who scored his fourth goal of the season. Minutes later, the Tar Heels took the lead (3-2), once again, but then the Cavaliers left no doubt, scoring nine of the next 10 goals.
Virginia closed out the second quarter with four straight goals, including a pair from Cormier to end the half as UVA clung to a 6-3 lead at intermission. Both teams traded goals to open the third, but Virginia shut out the Tar Heels in the fourth and scored four unanswered to cruise to its eighth victory of the season.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Lars Tiffany on his team’s defensive performance today …
“We’ve got to be more consistent, but [I’m] ecstatic today. I thought Jack Peele and Grayson Sallade – especially – they were exhausted coming off the field. And there’s a part of me that saying we’ve got to get you in shape, but there’s another part of me [that’s] like, they are laying it all on the line out there. They have turned every possession into the most important possession because that’s what we harped on this week. I’m ecstatic with the way our defense played today. And certainly, Matt Nunes bailed us out when we needed some help behind them.”
WITH THE WIN…
- Virginia improved to 8-2 overall, tying its best start to a season through 10 games since 2014, and 4-0 in ACC contests to remain the only unbeaten team in league games so far this season.
- The Cavaliers improved to 6-0 at home in 2022 and are winners of 15 of the last 18 games held at Klöckner Stadium.
- Virginia won its fourth straight game against the Tar Heels, which marks the longest win streak over UNC since UVA won nine straight games in the series from 2004-12.
- Head coach Lars Tiffany improved to 7-3 all-time against North Carolina.
- UVA has now won its last 15 games following a loss in the same season and improved to 19-2 in such games under Tiffany. UVA has not lost back-to-back games in the same season since 2017, Tiffany’s first year as head coach.
- The Cavaliers improved to 8-0 on the season when leading their opponents in assists. UVA dished out seven assists, while the Tar Heels had just one.
- UVA is also now 8-0 in games when leading after the third quarter and 7-0 when leading at halftime.
- North Carolina’s four goals are its fewest since falling 11-3 to Army on March 4, 2006, marking the lowest goal total under head coach Joe Breschi.
- The Tar Heels’ four goals are also the fewest scored by either team in the series since the Cavaliers knocked UNC out of the 2002 ACC Tournament in 10-3 fashion.
- Virginia held the Tar Heels scoreless for 19:52, marking the fourth-longest scoring drought by a UVA opponent this season. The Cavaliers also held UNC scoreless for 21:11 in Chapel Hill on March 10, 2022.
- For the third consecutive game, UVA forced 17 opponent turnovers.
- First-year Griffin Schutz, who has played in the midfield this season, started at attack for the first time this season. Schutz filled in for Matt Moore, who missed Saturday’s game due to injury.
- With one goal and one assist, Connor Shellenberger extended his point streak to 28 games, having registered at least one assist in all 28 of his career games.
- With a game-high four goals and one assist, Payton Cormier extended his goal streak to 22 games. Cormier entered Saturday’s contest tied for the fifth-longest goal streak in Division-I.
- Petey LaSalla, who went 10-for-18 at the faceoff-X and finished with four ground balls on the day, is now second all-time UVA’s career ground balls list. LaSalla, now with 329 career ground balls, passed Andy Kraus (327 GBs) and is now just eight ground balls away from becoming UVA’s all-time ground ball record holder, which is held by Jason Hard.
Virginia travels to Duke (9-5, 1-2 ACC) on Thursday, April 14 for its second ACC road contest of the season. Opening faceoff from Koskinen Stadium is set for 6 p.m. on ACC Network.