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No. 1 Virginia Lacrosse Falls to No. 4 Maryland in Overtime Thriller

Cavaliers Now on FanNation logo Cavaliers Now on FanNation 3/19/2023 Aidan Baller
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Saturday's showdown between the top two powers in college lacrosse lived up to its billing, but the Cavaliers came up short to the Terrapins in overtime

Saturday's showdown between two of the top four teams in the country, two old ACC rivals, and the two most dominant programs in college lacrosse over the last six years certainly lived up to its billing. Regulation wasn't enough to determine a victor, as the Cavaliers and Terrapins went back and forth and remained tied at 13-13 to go into overtime. UVA had three potential game-winning shots in overtime that were saved by Maryland goalie Brian Ruppel and in the end, Daniel Kelly scored the game-winner as No. 4 Maryland picked up its third-straight win in the series against No. 1 Virginia with a thrilling 14-13 overtime victory on Saturday afternoon in Klockner Stadium. 

Virginia did not have a strong start to the game, trailing 3-1 at the end of the first quarter, despite Petey LaSalla starting the game 8/12 from the x. Throughout the game, UVA missed many opportunities which included poor shoot selection and accuracy and a failure to execute in man-up situations. 

Maryland jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind goals from Daniel Kelly and Daniel Maltz. As for the Cavaliers, it was a rough start that included two dropped passes for turnovers despite Petey LaSalla winning the first three draws of the game against Luke Wierman.

A couple of Maryland penalties gave Virginia a two-man-up opportunity, but the Hoos were still unable to score with Brian Ruppel picking up three early saves for the Terrapins. Fueled by their defensive stand, Maryland added another goal before Thomas McConvey finally found the back of the net to make it 3-1 at the end of the opening period. 

In the second quarter, Virginia came alive on the offensive end beginning with Payton Cormier, in his first game back from injury, and Griffin Schutz firing home a combined three-straight goals to take a 4-3 lead. Cormier found Ricky Miezan on the doorstep for a goal and then Connor Shellenberger did the same, finding Thomas McConvey right in front of the crease to extend the lead to 6-3.

Defensively, Matthew Nunes, after struggling in the first quarter, settled in and picked up a few saves and his defense forced multiple turnovers. With less than two minutes left in the half, Eric Spanos stopped the bleeding for the Terrapins to cut the Virginia lead to 6-4 at halftime.

Virginia took a lot of low and poor shots early in the game that allowed Ruppel to establish himself early. In the second quarter, the Cavaliers mixed up their levels on their shots which helped spark their 6-0 run. Additionally, in the first half, Virginia was 12/12 on clears and forced five turnovers.

The second half opened with up-and-down scoring beginning with Owen Murphy finding Jack Koras. Cormier then fired back for the Cavaliers before Maryland responded with back-to-back goals to tie the game at 7-7.

Evan Zinn fired back with a coast-to-coast goal to retake the lead for the Cavaliers, but Wierman responded on the ensuing faceoff, igniting a 3-0 run for the Terrapins to give them a 10-8 lead. Throughout the third quarter, Maryland dominated time of possession, fueled by Wierman going 4/6 from the x to start the third quarter and Maryland generally playing a slower tempo, while UVA took quick shots on its possessions. With three seconds left, McConvey scored on a diving goal into the crease to cut the lead to one to close the third quarter.

The Terrapins scored back-to-back goals to start the fourth quarter before Dickson answered for the Cavaliers to make the score 12-10. Later, Maryland had a man-up opportunity with a chance to pull away, but it was staved off by a massive save from Nunes. Feeding off the momentum of three strong defensive stands, Shellenberger found Griffin Schutz for a goal to cut the lead to one with less than four minutes to go. Nunes finished the game with 16 saves, which were crucial to allowing the Cavaliers to come back in the fourth quarter.

After the ensuing faceoff was won by Maryland, Koras beat Nunes from a sharp angle for his fourth goal of the day to put the Terps back up 13-11 with 2:40 remaining. Virginia didn't panic and Thomas McConvey found an open Connor Shellenberger on the crease for an easy dunk for Shellenberger's first goal of the game. LaSalla won the ensuing faceoff and McConvey beat Ruppel with a lefty rip to net his fourth goal of the day and tie the game at 13-13 with 1:18 left.

On the next faceoff, Wierman won the draw and buried a goal, but it was called off due to a timeout called by Maryland coach John Tillman. After the timeout, the Cavaliers managed to hold off the Terrapins to send the game to overtime.

On the opening draw of overtime, Maryland earned the first possession, but Cole Kastner forced a turnover to help Virginia win the ball back. The Cavaliers tried to take advantage of the transition opportunity, as Shellenberger fed to Evan Zinn, who fired a low shot that was saved by Ruppel. Maryland failed to clear and the ball found its way to McConvey, who took a shot that was blocked by another fantastic save from Ruppel. The rebound bounced to the left of the crease, where Zinn collected it and appeared to have an easy putback goal, but Ruppel once again flew in to make the acrobatic save, denying the Cavaliers the game-winner three times in rapid succession. 

Maryland regain possession and Daniel Kelly buried the game-winning goal to give Maryland a 14-13 victory. 

Offensively, Thomas McConvey led the charge for Virginia with four goals and one assist and Payton Cormier had three goals. On the other hand, Connor Shellenberger finished with one goal and two assists and struggled to get into a rhythm against Maryland's Ajax Zappitello. Ruppel was crucial to Maryland’s success, finishing with 14 saves to help the Terrapins earn the victory. 

After suffering their first loss of the season it will be a quick turnaround for the Cavaliers (6-1), who will travel to play at No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday at noon. 

See more Virginia men's lacrosse news and content: Virginia Men's Lacrosse on Sports Illustrated

See more Virginia sports news and content: Virginia Cavaliers on Sports Illustrated

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