Virginia rallies over Carolina for dramatic victory in ACC men’s lacrosse semifinals

Chapel Hill, NC – Pushed to the brink of elimination, No. 1 seed Virginia rallied from a pair of second-half, four-goal deficits and defeated fifth-seed North Carolina, 14-13, in the first semifinal of the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill. 

UVa faced UNC in the 2019 ACC lacrosse tournament semifinals. (photo by Gene Galin)

Down by scores of 10-6 and 12-8, Virginia (12-3) scored six of the last seven goals, including the game winner by attackman Ian Laviano with 1:30 remaining on an assist from Cade Saustad. Carolina (8-7) had two chances to tie in the final 10 seconds, but both shots went wide. 

The ACC regular-season champion Cavaliers earned a berth in next week’s conference title game, where they will play host to the winner of Saturday’s second semifinal between No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Notre Dame. The ACC Championship will be played in Charlottesville on Saturday, May 4 at 2 p.m. on ESPNU.

Virginia opened the game with a 3-0 lead and was up 6-3 after one quarter. Carolina responded with seven consecutive goals, holding the Cavaliers scoreless for more than 26 minutes to take a 10-6 lead. All-ACC attacker Michael Kraus finally ended the drought with a scoring strike at the 3:57 mark of the third quarter. 

Virginia’s Dox Aitken registered a pair of goals in the fourth quarter to establish a new school record for career points by a midfielder.

Laviano led the Cavaliers with a game-high four goals and midfielder Ryan Conrad also added a hat trick. UVA goalie Patrick Burkinshaw entered the game after halftime and had six saves to pick up the win.  

Four Tar Heels scored two goals – Andy Matthews, Alex Trippi, Justin Anderson and William Perry. Goalie Caton Johnson made a game-high 10 saves.