By Jeff White (

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — When he stops by Lars Tiffany’s office at the McCue Center, Noah Chizmar makes a point of expressing his gratitude for being a University of Virginia student and a member of the Cavalier men’s lacrosse team.

Tiffany, UVA’s head coach, figures he should be one the offering thanks.

“Define grit: It’s Noah Chizmar,” Tiffany said. “Define leadership: It’s Noah Chizmar. And he was unwanted by the Virginia men’s lacrosse coaching staff—me!”

Chizmar excelled in lacrosse at St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, but Tiffany didn’t see him growing into a player who could help the Cavaliers. And so, in November 2020, as a St. Paul’s senior, Chizmar signed with Marquette.

He never made it to Milwaukee. After developing compartment syndrome, a painful condition that occurs when pressure within a person’s muscles builds to dangerous levels, Chizmar was uncertain if he’d be able to continue playing lacrosse. He began re-assessing his options.

“I remember hearing these rumors his senior year in high school that he was thinking about changing his commitment,” Tiffany said, “and I was like, ‘I’m not talking to him. We’re good. We’ve got the guys we want.’ ”

Chizmar applied to UVA anyway. After being accepted (and released from his letter of intent at Marquette), he decided to spend his college years in Charlottesville.

“Lacrosse is my love,” he said, “but there was a part of me that was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to play again just because of my injury. So I did make the decision based off academics, and UVA is an incredible place.”

Once his plans were set, Chizmar contacted Tiffany and requested an opportunity to try to make the team as a walk-on. Tiffany agreed, and it took only a few practices in the fall of 2022 for the coaching staff to realize Chizmar could contribute at the highest level of college lacrosse.

A 5-foot-11 short-stick defensive midfielder, Chizmar appeared in all 16 games as a freshman in 2022. As a sophomore, he again played in every game, totaling eight goals, two assists, 39 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers.

Tiffany compared him to Zach Thomas, who starred at linebacker for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins despite standing only 5-foot-11.

“Noah has overcome obstacles his entire life,” Tiffany said. “He’s always been told he’s too small, he’s too slow, and all he does is go out there and pick up tough ground balls, score goals and win matchups on defense.”

Noah Chizmar (34)

That Chizmar would gravitate to lacrosse was almost a foregone conclusion. His family has deep roots in the sport. Chizmar’s mother, the former Kara Tipton, played lacrosse at Johns Hopkins, and his father, Richard, a best-selling novelist, played at Essex Community College and UMBC.

Chizmar’s cousin Maggie is an assistant coach on the VCU women’s team, and his brother, Billy, played at Colby College.

“I love it so much,” Chizmar said of lacrosse.

He’s shining again this season for the Hoos, who improved to 10-1 overall and 1-0 in the ACC with a 14-6 win over North Carolina on Saturday at Klöckner Stadium. In front of a season-high crowd of 5,136, Chizmar scored an unassisted goal 11 seconds into the game, and the rout was on for second-ranked Virginia.

“It is nice when Noah Chizmar runs down there off the first faceoff and goes down there and sticks a goal,” Tiffany said. “That was so critical with how we wanted to come out.”

Early in the second quarter, Chizmar scored again, this time off an assist from freshman attackman McCabe Millon, to push UVA’s lead to 7-2, and he nearly added third goal early in the fourth period.

“I played some attack in high school,” Chizmar said, “so I was a little more used to [scoring] back then. I like playing defense more, but scoring a goal here and there is awesome.”

For the season, Chizmar has four goals and two assists. He’s picked up 22 ground balls and caused five turnovers.

“He’s the heart and soul of this team,” Tiffany said. “He doesn’t have the title of captain, but he might be the leader of this team.”

Chizmar, a student in UVA’s prestigious McIntire School of Commerce, has distinguished himself away from lacrosse, too. He and Marlee Morgan, a sprinter for the Cavalier women’s track & field team, recently were named co-recipients of the T. Rodney Crowley Scholarship for 2024-25.

The Crowley Scholarship, which covers the equivalent of a full in-state tuition for the recipient’s undergraduate fourth year, is awarded to UVA students who demonstrate leadership, sportsmanship, character, and integrity.

Crowley, who died in 1991, played tennis as a UVA undergraduate and later coached the Cavalier women’s team in that sport.

“I’m so honored to be even somewhat recognized as similar to Rodney Crowley,” Chizmar said. “I’m just so grateful, and it means the world to me.”

Chizmar is a member of UVA’s Student-Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has participated in the Citizen Leader and Sports Ethics Community Impact Fellowship program on Grounds. He also volunteers in the Charlottesville community for the Yellow Door Foundation.

Noah Chizmar (34)

The Crowley Scholarship recipient for the 2023-24 year was one of Chizmar’s teammates, defenseman Cole Kastner. As he had for Kastner, Tiffany submitted a nomination for Chizmar.

Kastner has been a mentor to Chizmar off the field. On the field, they’ve helped the Hoos limit opponents to an average of 9.7 goals per game this season.

The Tar Heels came in averaging 13.7 goals per game, but UVA’s defense silenced their prolific offense.

“Our scout offense, especially this week, was unreal,” Chizmar said after the game, “and they were scoring more than than UNC was today. It starts with Cole Kastner dominating his matchup and everyone else helping around and just making plays.”

At halftime of the UNC game, members of Virginia’s 1999 team were honored on the field. That group won the program’s second NCAA title, and in the days leading up to the game, Tiffany said, he reminded the current Cavaliers that they “stand upon the shoulders of giants. They set the tone for the success we have today.”

Chizmar said the Hoos wanted to show the alumni at the game “that what they started is still here, that UVA lacrosse is still UVA lacrosse, and just continue to make them proud.”

Virginia won four NCAA championships (1999, 2003, 2006, 2011) during the Hall of Fame tenure of Dom Starsia, Tiffany’s predecessor as head coach. Under Tiffany, the Hoos have won two NCAA titles (2019 and 2021), and Chizmar and his teammates want to add to the trophy case.

“Every person, all 48 of us, that’s our goal: to win a national championship,” Chizmar said.

Three regular-season games remain for Virginia, a stretch that starts Sunday in Durham, N.C. At 2 p.m., in a game to air on ACC Network, UVA meets third-ranked Duke (10-3, 0-2).

The Cavaliers will play April 20 at Syracuse (9-4, 1-1) before closing the regular season April 27 against top-ranked Notre Dame (7-1, 2-0) at Klöckner Stadium. In last year’s NCAA semifinals, the Fighting Irish defeated the Hoos in overtime.

The ACC tournament starts May 3 in Charlotte, N.C., and the NCAA tournament begins a week later.

Virginia has already faced such opponents as Michigan, Richmond, Ohio State, Johns Hopkins, Maryland and Harvard this season, and bigger tests are yet to come. Not every lacrosse player gets to test himself in games of that magnitude, and Chizmar doesn’t take his experience for granted.

“I tell Coach Tiffany every time I’m in his office, this is the greatest decision of my life,” Chizmar said after the UNC game. “I love my team more than anything, and on days like today, being able to play in front of alumni who created this culture, the atmosphere is unreal.”

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