Highlights: #3 Virginia 19, #13 Syracuse 12
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Sporting its 1980s-inspired retro uniforms for Alumni Day, No. 3 Virginia (9-3, 3-2 ACC) scored the first six goals of the game and never looked back as the Cavaliers downed No. 13 Syracuse (8-6, 1-4 ACC), 19-12, at Klöckner Stadium on Saturday afternoon (April 22).
With the win, the Cavaliers claimed their third consecutive victory over Syracuse in the series and have won five of the last seven meetings. Additionally, UVA is undefeated in its last 19 games following a loss in the same season. The last time Virginia lost back-to-back games was in 2017, Lars Tiffany’s first year as UVA head coach.
The Cavaliers were led by Xander Dickson, whose seven goals tied for No. 2 all-time in UVA single-game history. Dickson also added two assists. His seven goals and nine points tied his career highs in both categories, which he set in UVA’s 2019 win over VMI. With 48 goals on the season, Dickson is now tied for seventh, alongside Michael Watson (1996), on Virginia’s single season goals list. Dickson needs just nine more goals to shatter Doug Knight’s 1996 record of 56 goals.
Payton Cormier notched four goals, which marked his ninth hat trick in just 10 appearances this season – also the 29th of his career. Thomas McConvey (2g, 4a) also contributed four points. Defensively, Cade Saustad collected four ground balls and tied his career high of four caused turnovers, while holding Orange attackman Joey Spallina to just two assists.
Matthew Nunes (9-3) earned the win in net for the Cavaliers, while Syracuse’s Will Mark (8-6) suffered the loss. Mark was named one of 25 Tewaaraton Award Nominees on April 20.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After Virginia scored the game’s first six goals, three of which were Dickson’s, the Cavaliers clung to a 7-2 lead at the end of the first. The Orange did not get on the board for nearly the first 12 minutes of game time. Virginia dominated possession in the first, outshooting ‘Cuse, 18-6.
The Cavaliers sustained their five-goal lead heading into halftime after both teams notched three goals apiece in the second quarter. Virginia committed three penalties in the second, leading to four ‘Cuse man-up chances, one of which it converted into a goal. The Orange dominated the ground ball game in period No. 2, 14-7.
Dickson ripped his fourth goal of the day 40 seconds into the second half, which ultimately came amid a 4-0 UVA run as the Cavaliers grasped their then-largest lead of the contest [13-5] less than four minutes into the third. The Orange halted the UVA run with three goals of their own, but that was their best scoring run of the day. Back-to-back UVA goals by Cormier and Noah Chizmar capped the scoring by either team in period No. 3 as UVA held a 15-8 lead heading into the fourth.
Syracuse’s Cole Kirst (3g, 1a) registered his third score of the game less than one minute into the fourth. After the Orange tacked on one more goal, Dickson, Cormier and Petey LaSalla (1g, 17-29 FO) combined for four consecutive scores to put the Hoos up 19-10 with 3:57 to play. As time waned toward the end of the fourth, UVA emptied its bench and the Orange notched a pair of goals in the final two minutes of play.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Lars Tiffany on UVA’s strong start and the rivalry against Syracuse …
“I really liked what I saw. And we didn’t fall into retaliating. We kept our composure for the most part. There was one time where there wasn’t a faceoff because we mouthed off. I felt for the most part we were the aggressor, but didn’t get excessive with our penalties … We were aggressive and let our play do the talking.”
Head coach Lars Tiffany reacts to the Cavaliers 19-12 win over Syracuse at Klöckner Stadium Saturday afternoon (April 22).
WITH THE WIN
- Virginia took the lead in the all-time series, 21-20, which began in 1938. The Cavaliers also now lead the series 8-8 in Charlottesville and 7-6 at Klöckner Stadium.
- UVA has won five of the last seven meetings between the two teams.
- In its last 19 games following a loss (in the same season), Virginia is 19-0. UVA has not suffered back-to-back losses since 2017, Lars Tiffany’s first year as Virginia head coach.
- Lars Tiffany improved to 3-0 in head-to-head contests against Syracuse head coach Gary Gait, who is in his second year.
- Xander Dickson tied his career high in both goals (7) and points (9). Dickson registered seven goals and two assists in UVA’s 2019 win against VMI.
- Dickson’s seven goals tied for No. 2 all-time in UVA single-game history.
- Dickson (48g) is now tied for seventh, alongside Michael Watson (1996), on Virginia’s single season goals list. Dickson needs just nine more goals to shatter Doug Knight’s 1996 record of 56 goals.
- With two goals and two assists, Thomas McConvey extended his point streak to 64 games. Having registered at least one point in all 64 career games, McConvey’s streak is the longest among all active Division-I players. For his career, McConvey has amassed 149 goals and 65 assists.
- With four goals, Payton Cormier extended his point streak to 39 games. During his streak, Cormier has registered 123 goals and 24 assists.
- With one goal, Petey LaSalla scored his ninth goal of the season and 36th of his career. UVA improved to 24-3 all-time in games when LaSalla sores a goal, including 5-0 in 2023. UVA is also 29-5 when LaSalla registers at least one point.
- Cade Saustad’s four caused turnovers tied his career high. Saustad previously recorded four caused turnovers against Ohio State and Maryland earlier this season.
- Griffin Kology, a transfer from Richmond, made his first career start as a Cavalier at close defense.
- For the second time this season, Virginia took 60 shots. The last time UVA fired off 60 shots was against Towson (March 11).
- The Cavaliers donned 1980s-inspired uniforms for Alumni Day at Klöckner Stadium. Members of the 1983 ACC championship team were recognized on the field at halftime.
The Cavaliers travel to Lafayette (6-8, 3-5 Patriot) on Tuesday (April 25) to conclude non-conference action. Opening faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+.