CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia defenseman Cole Kastner (Defensive Player of the Year), goalie Matthew Nunes (Freshman of the Year) and head coach Lars Tiffany (Coach of the Year) took home ACC individual postseason honors, the conference office announced Thursday morning (May 12). Additionally, the Cavaliers tied for a league-best five All-ACC selections in Kastner, Connor Shellenberger, Matt Moore, Jeff Conner and Petey LaSalla.
North Carolina attackman Chris Gray was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year.
The 2022 All-ACC Team and award winners were determined by a vote of the league’s head coaches. The All-ACC team consists of three attackmen, three midfielders, three defenseman, one faceoff specialist, one short-stick defensive midfielder, one long-stick defensive midfielder, one goalie and five at-large selections.
Kastner is the first UVA defensive player to garner player-of-the-year honors snice Mark Koontz did so in 2002. He’s also the first player to win ACC Player of the Year since Steele Stanwick was tabbed the league’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2012. A Tewaaraton Award nominee, Kastner led the ACC with 28 caused turnovers – five more than the next player – in 14 games played this season. He also anchors a Virginia defense that leads the nation in ground balls (39.14/game) and is fourth in the ACC in opponent clear percentage (.766), which also leads the ACC. Additionally, Kastner and the Cavaliers currently lead the league in man-down defense (.694). Kastner, who was named a Second Team All-American by USA Lacrosse Magazine, earned ACC weekly honors in back-to-back weeks (March 8 & 15) earlier this season.
Nunes is the third player under the guidance of Tiffany to be named the ACC’s Freshman of the Year, joining Moore (2019) and Michael Kraus (2017). He is also just the second goalie in UVA history to earn ACC freshman-of-the-year honors, which Tillman Johnson achieved in 2001. Nunes is currently second in the ACC in goals-against average (11.12/game), which is also good for 25th nationally. With 132 saves in 13 games so far this season, Nunes is currently fifth in totals saves among freshman netminders in UVA history. He was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Week three times this season, which tied for the most by any player in the league this season.
Tiffany collects his second ACC Coach of the Year award, having also won it in 2019. Under Tiffany’s guidance, the Cavaliers earned their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth after winning a share of this year’s ACC title. Tiffany and the Cavaliers went 5-1 in league games and defeated Notre Dame, which also won a share of the ACC championship. Tiffany and former head coach Dom Starsia are the only coaches in program history to win ACC Coach of the Year in multiple seasons.
Shellenberger, also a Tewaaraton Award nominee, is second in the ACC in assists (2.86/game) and third in points (4.86/game). He set a career-high eight points with three goals and five assists in Virginia’s 20-11 victory over then-No. 14/15 Johns Hopkins (March 5). His five assists against the Blue Jays also matched his career best, which he achieved in UVA’s first two games of the year, a pair of wins over Air Force (Feb. 5) and High Point (Feb. 13). Shellenberger, who has posted at least one point in all 32 career games, has registered multiple points all 14 games so far this season. He was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Week on March 15.
Moore is fourth in the ACC in assists (2.09/game), sixth in points (4.18/game) and seventh in goals (2.09/game). In 11 appearances in 2022, Moore posted five hat tricks, including in UVA’s ACC-title clinching game at Syracuse (April 23). On the road against the Orange, he also dished out a season-high six assists, the most by a Cavalier in a single game this season. One of three Virginia team captains, Moore was named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, which is bestowed to a men’s lacrosse student-athlete that excels in the community, classroom, character and competition. On May 10, Moore was drafted No. 4 overall in the 2022 Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Draft by the Archers.
Conner appeared in 11 games in the midfield and totaled 11 goals and 15 assists. His 15 assists are good for third on the team. On April 26, he was tabbed the ACC’s Offensive Player of the Week for his performance at Syracuse. Against the Orange, he posted a career-best seven points after scoring four goals on six shots and dished out three assists. Conner registered at least one point in 10 of his 11 appearances.
LaSalla leads the ACC in faceoff win percentage (.614) and is third in ground balls (6.86/game). As one of the most prolific creators of offense as a faceoff specialist in the nation, LaSalla posted at least one point in six of his 14 appearances, including a career-best three points in the Carrier Dome. He registered a faceoff win percentage of at least .500 in 12 games so far this season. Earlier this season, LaSalla shattered Virginia’s all-time faceoff wins and ground balls records.
Virginia (11-3) returns to action on Saturday (May 14), when it travels to eighth-seeded Brown (10-5) for the First Round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Opening faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
2022 ACC Award Winners
Offensive Player of the Year – Chris Gray, North Carolina
Defensive Player of the Year – Cole Kastner, Virginia
Freshman of the Year – Matt Nunes, Virginia
Coach of the Year – Lars Tiffany, Virginia
2022 All-ACC Team
A – Chris Gray, North Carolina
A – Connor Shellenberger, Virginia
A – Pat Kavanagh, Notre Dame
A – Brennan O’Neill, Duke
A – Tucker Dordevic, Syracuse
A – Matt Moore, Virginia
M – Brendan Curry, Syracuse
M – Eric Dobson, Notre Dame
M – Jeff Conner, Virginia
M – Nakeie Montgomery, Duke
D – Arden Cohen, Notre Dame
D – Kenny Brower, Duke
D – Cole Kastner, Virginia
FO – Petey LaSalla, Virginia
SSM – Connor Maher, North Carolina
LSM – Tyler Carpenter, Duke
G – Liam Entenmann, Notre Dame
G – Mike Adler, Duke