Virginia beats Duke in lacrosse semifinal in double-OT thriller

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 25: Ian Laviano #3 of Virginia Cavaliers celebrates his game winning goal in double overtime of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Semifinals with Ryan Conrad #22 and Dox Aitken #6 against the Duke Blue Devils at Lincoln Financial Field on May 25, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Virginia Cavaliers defeated the Duke Blue Devils 13-12 in double overtime (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Virginia sophomore Ian Laviano (left) celebrates after his game-winning goal in double overtime. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Despite trailing by as many as four goals in the third quarter, the Virginia men’s lacrosse team stormed back Saturday to topple Duke in double overtime and reach the NCAA championship game.

Virginia needed two goals in the final 45 seconds of regulation to force overtime and won it on a quick flick of the wrist from sophomore Ian Laviano less than a minute into the second overtime.

Virginia will face defending champion Yale, which beat Penn State 21-17 in the other semifinal on Saturday, in the finals at 1 p.m. ET Monday. The Cavaliers will be searching for their sixth national championship in the sport. They won the second NCAA Men's Lacrosse tournament in 1972 and also have titles in 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2011.

Virginia took an early 2-1 lead 10 minutes in the game, but Duke held the Cavaliers scoreless for the next 21:27 while building a 5-2 halftime lead. The Blue Devils then extended their lead to 8-4 on the strength of Brian Smyth’s face-off dominance.

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As has become commonplace for Virginia this season, it was able to come back with a well-rounded offensive attack. Four different Cavaliers scored six goals to bring them within one before Duke hit a dagger to go up two with less than two minutes to go.

But one minute proved to be enough time for the Cavs. Immediately after flipping the field, Michael Kraus scored, and Virginia won the following face-off, giving Laviano the chance to send it into overtime.

More dominance for Virginia athletics

A win on Monday would give Virginia its second national championship of 2019, continuing a dominant stretch for its athletic department.


Beyond its first men’s basketball title in March, the Cavaliers have been dominant across the board. Just this decade, they have titles in baseball (2015), lacrosse (2011), men’s soccer (2014) and men’s tennis (2013, 2015-17).

Overall, Virginia has 26 NCAA titles, which is the second most in the ACC.

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