HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. —Graduation caps filled the air Saturday during commencement ceremonies on Grounds in Charlottesville. More than 400 miles away in Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium, gleaming orange helmets and padded lacrosse gloves rained down onto the turf after the final horn sounded on the NCAA quarterfinals.
The cardiac Cavaliers struck again as No. 3 seed Virginia rallied from five goals down to beat unseeded Maryland, 13-12, on Matt Moore’s goal with 3:15 left in overtime.
It was Virginia’s fourth overtime win of the season, but it holds more water than the previous three. It punched the Cavaliers’ first ticket to the Final Four since 2011 when they beat Maryland to win the national championship. With its first national title appearance since that year on the line, UVa will face Duke or Notre Dame next Saturday in Philadelphia.
“I’m a very grateful man who is surrounded by great men,” Virginia head coach Lars Tiffany said. “When I think about the Virginia lacrosse man, I think of one who is driven to succeed.”
Moore’s game-winner was just his second goal on the day, but it gave the Cavaliers’ their first lead of the game and was part of Virginia’s 6-0 run over the final 11-plus minutes of game time.
“We had good movement in the middle, I drifted and [Michael Kraus] found me perfectly,” Moore said. “His pass hit my stick perfectly, I shot it stick-side high and that’s what happened.”
The Cavaliers’ latest comeback was powered by senior Ryan Conrad, who scored three of his four goals in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back netters to kick off the Wahoos’ decisive run and cut Maryland’s lead to 12-9 with 3:29 to play.
As much as his late heroics helped extend Virginia’s season by at least one more week, Conrad said the team was driven more Saturday by past experience.
This season, the Cavaliers (15-3) own overtime wins over Princeton, Syracuse and Brown in consecutive weeks. They had to rally from four goals down against Brown and five down in a regular season win over Notre Dame. In the ACC Tournament semifinals at North Carolina, they had to erase a four-goal deficit in the fourth quarter.