Cavaliers end Maryland’s dream season, 17-16. In an absolute classic, Virginia (14-4) ended the undefeated season for the Maryland Terrapins (15-1) to claim the 2021 NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Championship. A crowd of 14,816 were treated to a very entertaining contest. Alex Rode, the Cavs netminder would turn aside 12 shots but none were bigger than the last save. Luke Wierman won the face-off clean and went in on Rode. The shot hit Ride in the chest and the celebration was on!
Let’s Look at How We Got to That Scenario
A feel ’em out opening quarter with a knotted up game at 4. It took nearly seven minutes before Daniel Maltz (2g) converted a Kyle Long feed and Maryland went in front. Matt Moore (4g,2a) tied it when Petey LaSalla won the ensuing face-off and after six seconds it was 1-1. The quick strike and counter were on and :34 elapsed before Kyle Long (1g,3a) scored his 16th.
LaSalla (1g,1a) won another and took it himself to tie it again… How long did it take after the Long goal? Not long… pardon the pun, this time it was eight seconds! Joshua Coffman (1g) buried a Jared Bernhardt feed. Bernhardt also assisted on a Logan Wisnauskas (5G,1a) net tweeter to push the Terps to a 4-2 edge. Jeff Conner (3g,1a) and Connor Shellenberger (4g,2a) notching his 34th off a pretty Matt Moore setup that ended the opening stanza.
Virginia was finding their mojo and kept the run going courtesy of Payton Cormier (2g). Jared Connors (1g), Shellenberger, and Jeff Conners to push the Cavs to an 8-4 advantage. It was Maryland’s turn. Jared Bernhardt (2g,3a) picked up his 70th and 71st with Griffin Brown (1g) making it a one-goal game. Shellenberger fed Cormier for his 45th to close the hyper-competitive first half with Virginia holding a 9-7 edge.
The Action Continues
Wisnauskas took 53 to get it back to a goal lead. Dox Aitken (1g,1) and Shellenberger assisted on the 14th from Jeff Conner.
Maryland, showing why they came in without a loss, reeled off markers from Wisnauskas, Roman Puglise (1g), and Wisnauskas adding yet another which knotted it up at 11-11. Virginia commented, “hold my beer” and closed the quarter with goals from Peter Garno (1g), Shellenberger, and Matt Moore to boost the Cavs to a 14-11 advantage with 15:00 to go.
Shellenberger and Moore kept the goal party going and with 11:04 to play, Virginia seemingly had this one locked down, 16-11. The score stayed that way for nearly five minutes before, guess who? Wisnauskas started a will rally. After the Wisnauskas goal, Virginia’s Chris Merle was called for Unnecessary Conduct, resulting in Daniel Maltz scoring the only man-up goal exactly :10 seconds in the penalty.
Goals would come fast and furious mostly from the Terps Bubba Fairman (1g,1a) at the 5:13 mark with Anthony DeMaio (2g,1a) got it to a one-goal game at 16-15 with 3:57 to play. Matt Moore ended an 8 minute scoreless run for Virginia with the biggest goal of his collegiate career to make it a two-goal game. Maryland had no quit and with :11 remaining, DeMaio put home a Kyle Long feet and the stage was set for the Rode heroics. Cavaliers end Maryland’s dream season.
LaSalla went 21 of 37 with Justin Shockey, who was ineffective was 2 of 7 with Luke Wierman posting a 14 for 30 games for the Terps. Rode had the 12 saves with Logan McNaney stopping 11. Shots favored Maryland, 49-39 while shots on goal were even at 28-28. Turnovers were low with the Cavs having 14 to Maryland’s 10.
‘We went into the game thinking how can we get away from the matchups that Maryland will put on us because we have incredible respect for 43 Makar and 54 Grill. But it was Connor Shellenberger stepping up and showing that he can win that matchup, he can win his matchup. The balance that he plays with, understanding when to attack because the opposing defense isn’t sliding versus when they are sliding and he can become the facilitator, the quarterback, he’s got a great balance for that. He’s not putting himself too far out in front and making himself like hunting points. He can let the game come to him and take what he sees. And then Matt Moore, stepping up on the biggest stage. I remember two years ago against Yale what a fantastic effort he had that day and here he is again with four goals. Our offense starts with those guys but we’re so lucky to have such a plethora of offensive personnel with Laviano and Payton and Connor, et cetera.” – Lars Tiffany
All Tournament Team:
- Connor Shellenberger, Virginia (Most Outstanding Player)
- Cade Saustad, Virginia
- Alex Rode, Virginia
- Petey LaSalla, Virginia
- Jared Conners, Virginia
- Matt Moore, Virginia
- Nick Grill, Maryland
- Logan Wisnauskas, Maryland
- Jared Bernhardt, Maryland
- William Perry, North Carolina