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.
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.