CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – For the fourth time in five seasons, the Loyola-Virginia men’s lacrosse game was decided by just one goal as the Cavaliers rallied to slip past the Greyhounds, 13-12, in two overtimes Saturday in the teams’ season-opener at Klöckner Stadium.
Dox Aitken picked the ground ball off the faceoff to open the second overtime, raced into the box and split a Loyola slide, scoring 15 seconds into the period to give the Cavaliers the victory.
Loyola had rallied from a 12-9 deficit to tie the game with 2:14 left in regulation as Jay Drapeau caught an Aidan Olmstead pass while rolling the crease to score into the top corner, pulling the teams even at 12-12.
Virginia took possession of the ensuing faceoff, and Matt Moore had two shot opportunities for the Cavaliers with under a minute to play. The first went wide, and the second was saved by Loyola’s Jacob Stover. Foster Huggins came away with the groundball, and Loyola cleared to its offensive end.
After a Greyhounds’ timeout, P.J. Brown and Pat Spencer had shots go wide before the period ran out.
The first overtime started with the teams combining for three-straight turnovers. Virginia got off a shot by Ryan Conrad that went wide, an attempt which Loyola backed up as it went out-of-bounds to regain possession.
Loyola had a look at the goal before Virginia caused a turnover, and the game was sent to a second overtime.
At the start of the second extra frame, the loose ball off the faceoff came out to the Loyola offensive side where Aitken was to scoop it up. He ran into the box before drawing a slide that he split. He hit a shot inside the left post to send Virginia to the win.
Loyola opened up a 4-2 lead before the end of the game’s first quarter as Spencer was involved in the Greyhounds’ first four goals. He scored the first unassisted after running from behind the cage, using a hesitation step to get past his defender before bouncing a shot inside the near post.
Spencer then was on the feeding end of the next Greyhounds’ score when he threw a pass over the cage to a crashing Drapeau to put Loyola up 2-0 after just 68 seconds.
Virginia got on the board with 8:32 to go in the first when Mikey Herring scored. The Greyhounds had dislodged the ball from a Virginia player’s stick, but it rolled right to Herring who scored at 8:32.
Loyola responded less than three minutes later as Spencer initiated from behind to feed P.J. Brown for a 15-yard low-to-low sling at 5:51. Virginia got back within one at 3:14 as Ian Laviano scored the first of what would be a game-high five goals, the first coming on extra-man.
Spencer, however, pushed the advantage back to a pair with 15 seconds left before the expiration of the first quarter. John Duffy threw a pass from goal-line extended to Spencer at the top of the box, and Spencer stepped into an 18-yard bouncer that found the net.
That goal started a 5-1 Loyola run that continued with 9:40 left before halftime as Duffy absorbed multiple checks before getting to the middle of the field for a 12-yard rip.
Laviano scored off an Aitken assist at 9:28 off the faceoff following Duffy’s first, but Duffy tallied another unassisted goal at 5:32, making the margin 6-3.
Mike Orefice won the faceoff to himself, ran into the box and shot inside the right post to score at 5:21 for a 7-3 lead that would hold until halftime.
Orefice scored again at the start of the second half, picking up another faceoff and beating the trailing defense into the box for an unassisted goal 11 ticks into the second half.
Virginia went on extra-man with 11:40 left in the third quarter, and Cameron Stafford scored for the Cavaliers at 11:23 to pull Virginia within four. The goal was the first of seven-straight that would see Virginia take a 10-8 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Laviano scored twice during the run, and Michael Kraus tallied a goal at 14:33 in the fourth quarter to make it 10-8 Cavaliers.
Spencer stopped the run briefly with an unassisted goal at 13:46, but Mike D’Amario one-timed a Kraus feed at 12:56 to score for Virginia, and Moore registered his second of the game at 9:55 to push Virginia up three, 12-9.
Duffy tallied his third goal of the game, matching his career-high. His third came after he took the ball outside the top of the box, used a split-dodge to draw space from his defender to shoot and score with 5:41 left in regulation.
Orefice then tallied his third of the game – the senior entered the contest with just one career goal – six seconds later off a faceoff win.
Drapeau’s goal that tied the game with just over two mintues left was setup by good Loyola ball movement. Spencer shot a pass to Olmstead six yards out from the goal, and Olmstead turned and immediately found Drapeau rolling topside where he found the opposite top corner from the left side.
Loyola managed a 49-44 advantage in shots, but the Cavaliers had a 41-30 lead in ground balls.
The Greyhounds return to action in a week when they open their home slate with a 1 p.m. game at Ridley Athletic Complex against Johns Hopkins University.