Cavaliers fend off late rally by Tar Heels, advance to lacrosse championship game

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The University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team will play for its second straight national championship on Memorial Day. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team couldn’t find the back of the net in the fourth quarter of their NCAA championship semifinal game against North Carolina on Saturday, but it didn’t matter. The Cavaliers defense held in the final three minutes of regulation, securing a 12-11 victory over the Tar Heels and sending UVA to the national title game on Memorial Day.

The Cavaliers will play for their second consecutive NCAA Division I championship and will face either Duke or Maryland at 1 p.m. in Hartford, Conn. UVA won the national title in 2019, and the 2020 championship was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UVA got off to a slow start on Saturday, trailing UNC 3-2 after the first quarter. But the Cavaliers turned on the jets offensively and rattled off seven goals in the second, going into halftime with a 9-4 lead.

Virginia got goals from Connor Shellenberger, Payton Cormier and Ian Laviano in the third quarter, as the Cavaliers built a four-goal cushion going into the final 15 minutes of regulation.

William Perry got the Tar Heels within one with 3:05 to play in the game, and a Charlie Bertrand penalty for UVA gave UNC a golden opportunity to draw level. But the Tar Heels managed just one shot on goal on the man advantage.

Cormier led UVA with three goals. Shellenberger and Bertrand had two goals apiece for the Cavaliers. Alex Rode stopped 15 shots for UVA in net.

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