Virginia wins opener at Loyola in 16-15 Shootout
#14-ranked Virginia upsets #6-ranked Loyola in exciting debut of the run and gun Cavs
BALTIMORE - It was a wild finish at the Ridley Athletic Complex as 13 combined goals were scored in the fourth quarter, but No. 14 Virginia (1-0) outlasted No. 6 Loyola (0-1), 16-15, on Saturday afternoon to open the Lars Tiffany era.
"It is an exciting day for Sean Kirwan, Kip Turner, Rocco Romero and myself," said Tiffany. "It is exciting for us to implement this new system, to see the men embrace it as they have in a great venue against a great team that was willing to play fast with us. The pace is something we believe in and that is how we are going to play moving forward."
Virginia owned a 10-5 lead with 7:50 left in the third quarter when Zed Williams found Ryan Conrad for a Cavalier goal that capped a 6-0 UVA run. It took 45 seconds for Loyola to begin a 5-0 run of its own to tie the game, 10-10, with 12:57 left in the game.
Making his collegiate debut against Loyola, Dox Aitken went straight toward the cage and scored his third goal of the game with 12:19 left in the contest to halt the Greyhounds run, giving UVA the lead back, 11-10. Conrad scored unassisted at 11:27 to give UVA a 12-10 advantage. Aitken and Conrad's goals were the beginning of a 4-1 UVA, giving the Cavaliers a 14-11 lead. Aitken capped the run with his fourth goal of the game with 8:13 left to play.
The Greyhounds came roaring back with a 4-1 run of their own, tying the game at 15-15 after Graham Savio won a faceoff and sprinted toward the UVA cage with 2:59 left. Virginia wasted no time after winning the ensuing faceoff as Williams dodged and flipped a pass behind his back to Conrad and the sophomore deposited the game's final goal, lifting UVA to the 16-15 win.
A UVA turnover in the final seconds set up an opportunity for Loyola to tie the game. But Tanner Scales knocked down Zack Sirico's pass with three seconds left and Conrad picked up the ground ball as time expired.
Loyola started the game's scoring with a Mike Perkins goal via an assist by Zach Sirico at 12:08 in the first quarter. Virginia responded with a 4-1 run to take a two-goal lead, 4-2. Aitken and Joe French each scored goals for UVA, while Jason Murphy and Michael Kraus capped the run. Kraus' first collegiate goal came with 8:56 left in the first half.
The Greyhounds retaliated with a 3-0 run, taking a 5-4 lead. Loyola received goals from Brian Begley and one from Zirico. Savio capped the Loyola run with an unassisted goal with 6:14 left in the second quarter. Virginia held Loyola scoreless for the next 14:09, while the Cavaliers took a 10-5 lead, via a aforementioned 6-0 run.
The Virginia defense held Tewaaraton Trophy hopeful, Loyola's Pat Spencer, to only two points on two fourth-quarter assists and a team-high four turnovers. "It was a heroic effort by Tanner Scales," said Tiffany. Scales finished the game with six ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Nine Cavaliers scored goals, let by Aitken's four. Twelve scored at least one point, led by freshman Michael Kraus' two goals and three assists. Williams also had three assists to go with one goal. Williams and Scales led UVA with six ground balls. Making his first career start in the cage, Will Railey made 11 saves and picked up the win.
Tiffany becomes the sixth Virginia head coach to win his debut for the Cavaliers, joining Robert Fuller (1951), Robert Sandell (1955), Buddy Beardmore (1968), Jim Adams (1978) and Dom Starsia (1993).
Loyola won the battle of shots (43-40), ground balls (47-45) and faceoffs (18-17), while Virginia had more saves (11-5) and turnovers (21-18).
Virginia returns home on Saturday, Feb. 18 when Drexel comes to Klöckner Stadium. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.