SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Virginia (10-3, 5-1 ACC) clinched a share of the program’s 19th ACC title with its 21-15 win over Syracuse (4-9, 1-4 ACC) at the Carrier Dome on Saturday (April 23). The Cavaliers’ 21 goals scored tied for the most by a Syracuse opponent inside the Carrier Dome since its opened in 1980.
Jeff Conner (4 goals, 3 assists) and Matt Moore (3 goals, 4 assists) posted a game-high seven points each. Conner, who took just six shots, finished with a career high in points.
Matthew Nunes (10-3) earned the win in net for Virginia, while Bobby Gavin (3-7) suffered the loss for the Orange.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After Syracuse’s leading goal scorer Tucker Dordevic scored the game’s first goal just over one minute in, the Cavaliers tallied five straight goals to take the lead. The UVA run was capped by a goal from short-stick defensive midfielder Jack Peele, who received a pass from Cade Saustad and went the length of the field to score his second goal of the season and eighth of his career. Virginia led 6-3 at the end of the first period, but the Orange cut the UVA lead to one (6-5) early in the second quarter. The Cavaliers responded with three straight goals, including two from Conner and Moore, to cling to a 9-5 lead. Virginia ultimately led it 12-7 at the half after the Cavaliers forced eight SU turnovers and out-shot the Orange 31-20 in the first 30 minutes of play.
Once again, Syracuse opened the half by scoring the first goal, but then the Cavaliers fired off six straight goals to commandeer an 18-8 advantage – its largest lead of the game – midway through the third. The run was highlighted by Petey LaSalla’s second goal of the day, which rattled the cage on an assist from Moore, and was ultimately the game-winning strike for the Cavaliers. After Syracuse scored three straight, Conner and Moore found the back of the net one last time, and Payton Cormier scored his second goal of the game on a man-up opportunity with 10:46 to play. The Orange, once again, scattered three goals in the final seven minutes of play, but it was not enough as UVA held on to win its second straight game over Syracuse.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Lars Tiffany on Jeff Conner and Matt Moore’s performances today…
“Next to me are two warriors and I use that word specifically. Jeff Conner has really emerged. He’s playing his best lacrosse now. He had an early injury, so he missed about a month of our season. This is what we wanted, and we demand of Jeff – to be a true two-way middie. There’s just not that many in the game and he’s a throwback player, where he’s playing defense for us, winning some matchups, part of the slide scheme, but then obviously at the offensive end creating a ton of production. And the man to my left, Matt Moore … I use the word ‘warrior’ and it may not speak enough. The volume of what he’s doing right now [by] playing through injury. I think my favorite play of the year so far was that dive on the sidelines to give us an extra possession. And if you noticed, he’s not 100 percent, but he’s selling out there. His warrior mindset transfers to the rest of us. Matt has become an exceptional captain and leader for this program.”
WITH THE WIN…
- Virginia won its 19th ACC title all-time and second under head coach Lars Tiffany, who guided the Cavaliers to an ACC Tournament championship in 2019.
- Tiffany won his sixth career conference championship having won four Ivy League titles, including outright champion status in 2016, as head coach at Brown University (2007-16).
- Virginia evened the all-time series against the Orange to 20-20 and improved to 6-9 in the Carrier Dome.
- The Cavaliers finished its ACC regular-season slate with a 5-1 record, their highest win percentage in league contests since going 2-0 in 2006.
- Virginia’s 21 goals scored tied for the most by a Syracuse opponent in the Carrier Dome since it opened in 1980. UVA scored 21 goals in the Dome in its 22-21 loss in 1997 and North Carolina posted 21 goals at SU last season.
- The Cavaliers scored 20 goals in both meetings against the Orange this season, having defeated SU 20-11 at Klöckner Stadium on Feb. 26.
- For the second straight game, UVA had 10 players score at least one goal.
- With two goals, faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla tallied his fifth career game with multiple goals. Virginia is now 18-3 all-time when LaSalla scores at least one goal and 5-0 when scoring multiple goals. His second goal of the game was the game winner.
- With two extra man-up goals in Saturday’s win, Virginia has now converted on at least one extra-man opportunity in each of its last five games.
- For the second time this season, Virginia was perfect on all of its clear attempts, finishing Saturday’s contest 22-22. The Cavaliers were also 16-16 at Duke (April 14).
- For the sixth straight game, Virginia opponents have had at least 16 turnovers.
- Jeff Conner’s seven points are a career best. His previous high was five points against Air Force in 2020.
Virginia returns to Klöckner Stadium on Thursday (April 28) to close out the regular season when it hosts Lafayette (4-10) for Senior Night. Opening faceoff of the inaugural matchup between UVA and the Leopards is set for 6 p.m. on ACC Network. Prior to the start of Thursday’s game, UVA will recognize all 14 of its fourth and fifth-year student-athletes.