The Virginia Cavaliers Men’s Lacrosse team will look to defend their 2019 national title when the season opens up February 6. With last season having been suspended midway through the year, the Hoos still hold the crown and look primed for another great season. Most rankings have the Cavaliers within the top five teams in the country inside the top five. Many of the top players from that national championship squad will return to Charlottesville, taking advantage of the additional year of eligibility offered to athletes due to the Coronavirus, bolstering the Hoos’ chances for success this year.
The Cavaliers will play a 14-game regular season schedule, with nine home contests throughout the year. The Cavaliers will make their Klöckner stadium debut, when they host Towson this Monday, February 8. The ACC schedule consists of just six games this season, with the five teams playing two teams twice and the two other teams once. The Cavaliers will play Syracuse and North Carolina twice each and face off against Duke and Notre Dame once each. All five ACC programs are ranked inside the top 10, with conference play looking to be a true slugfest all season long. The conference has opted out of hosting a conference tournament and will award the crown to the team with the best record in the regular season. Back in 2019, the Wahoos knocked off Notre Dame 10-4 to secure the conference championship and will look to repeat as conference champions this season.
Virginia also draws two major non-conference opponents, hosting the Richmond Spiders at Klöckner stadium on April 3rd and travelling to Loyola on February 20th to take on the Greyhounds. Both teams are ranked inside the top 25, with Richmond consistently in the high teens, while Loyola has quietly snuck into some rankers’ top ten. Virginia played both of these squads during their title run in 2019, falling to Loyola to open the season by a score of 17-9 but handling their business against Richmond 16-7. However, the Hoos got their revenge last year, defeating the Greyhounds 12-9 last year.
In his fifth season at UVA, head coach Lars Tiffany’s squad returns a boatload of talent. Three All Americans from the national championship team are back in Midfielders Dox Aitken, and Jared Conners, and attacker Matt Moore. Matt Moore broke UVA’s single season points record in the team’s last full season and finished eighth in the country with 5.83 points per game. He looks primed to put forth a similar performance in what will now be his senior season. Jared Conners received nearly all of the preseason All-American votes at his midfield position and will serve as one of the team’s two captains this season. Aitken play will be perhaps the biggest key to the team’s success in 2021, as he looked sluggish and unlike his normal self at times during the six games last year. If he gets back on track, which he seems likely to do in his final season, the Hoos will once again be threatening for a title.
The Cavaliers have a gauntlet schedule ahead of them this season, but certainly have the talent and experience to succeed this season. For the most part, the core from the 2019 championship team is returning and key pieces have been added like new transfer attacker Charlie Bertrand. Look for the cardiac Cavs to have another great year and vie for the national title yet again.