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NCAA preview: Aitken, Moore, Conner lead UVA in semifinals vs. Duke

Saturday, 25th May 2019

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 5/25/19
From Press Release

The Virginia Cavaliers (15-3) and the Duke Blue Devils (13-4) meet today (noon) in the semifinal round of the 2019 NCAA Championship at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The ACC foes are facing each other for the second time this season and for the first time in the NCAA Tournament since the 2010 NCAA Semifinals in Baltimore. UVA is ranked No. 4 in the USILA coaches poll and No. 3 in the Inside Lacrosse/Maverick media poll. Duke is ranked No. 5 in both the coaches and media polls.

UVA’s Matt Moore (left), Dox Aitken

UVA, champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, is the No. 3 national seed and earned an at-large bid. The Cavaliers advanced to their 23rd Championship Weekend with a 13-12 overtime win over Maryland in the quarterfinal round. Duke also earned an at-large bid and is the No. 2 national seed. The Blue Devils advanced to their 12th Championship Weekend with a 14-13 overtime win against No. 7 national seed Notre Dame.

Link for Tickets

Live stats will be available at The game will be televised live on ESPN2. Anish Shroff will call the play-by-play, while Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra will provide analysis. Don Zimmerman will join the crew as the rules expert. ESPN will also simulcast the broadcast on the WatchESPN app, or by logging onto will be a live radio broadcast in the Charlottesville area on WINA 1070 AM and 98.9 FM. Luke Neer will provide the play-by-play and Doug Tarring will add analysis. The radio broadcast can also be heard on SiriusXM ACC Radio channel 371.

Philly connections:
• Virginia is led by junior First-Team All-American midfielder Dox Aitken (Haverford School). Aitken is the 15th Cavalier all-time to earn first-team All-America honors multiple times. UVA has three first-team honorees for the first time since 2009 when Shamel Bratton, Ken Clausen (Hill School) and Dan Glading all took home the accolade. UVA’s six All-America honorees are the most since having six in 2014, however that year the Cavaliers didn’t have a first-team recipient. Aitken has broken the career UVA scoring records by a midfielder with 107 career goals and 135 career points. His 46 points in 2019 is tied for No. 4 on UVA’s single-season ledger by a midfielder, needing five more to equal his own record from 2018. Aitken is No. 3 on the team with 39 goals, which ties his 2018 output for No. 2 on UVA’s single-season ledger by a midfielder.
• UVA sophomore attackman Matt Moore (Garnet Valley) also was named an Honorable Mention All-American. Moore became UVA’s first 40-40 man in program history and is only the fourth Cavalier to reach 80 points in a season, joining Doug Knight (1996), Steele Stanwick (2012) and Kraus (2018). Moore is No. 2 in the ACC and No. 20 in the nation with 4.44 points per game.
• UVA freshman midfielder Jeff Conner (Strath Haven) also is a starter and has 4 goals and 9 assists.
• UVA junior Justin Schwenk (Spring-Ford) is the backup faceoff man and has won 78 of 144 draws this year. Also, senior midfielder Dave Smith (Shawnee) has played in all 18 games and has 10 groundballs and 3 assists while Grayson Sallade (Manheim Township) has 1 goal in 5 games and Griffin Thompson (Lawrenceville School) is a backup goaltender.
• For Duke, Joe Robertson (played with Duke’s Lacrosse Club) leads the team with 40 goals and 56 points.

• UVA is in the semifinal round for the first time since 2011.
• UVA’s 23rd trip to Championship Weekend ranks No. 4 all-time in NCAA history.
• UVA has 15 wins for the first time since winning 16 games in 2010.
• UVA is playing game No. 19, which is a program high for a season.
•UVA is No. 1 in the nation with 41.06 ground balls per game.
• UVA is No. 1 in the nation in clearing defense. UVA is limiting its opponents to a 70.7 percent clearing, which is 5.9 failed clears per game by UVA opponents.
• UVA has scored 256 goals through 18 games this year and has assisted 158 of them. That means UVA has recorded an assist on 61.7 percent of its goals in 2019.
• With 18 assists, Ryan Conrad is tied for No. 4 on UVA’s single-season assist ledger for midfielders.

• Saturday marks the 84th all-time meeting between the Cavaliers and Blue Devils, a series in which the Cavaliers own a 49-34 advantage since 1938.
• The 49 victories are the second most wins UVA has against an opponent in program history, but the Blue Devils have won 19 of the last 20 meetings, including the last 11.
• Virginia’s last win in the series was in the 2010 ACC Tournament.

• Duke head coach John Danowski is in his 13th season at Duke and has won NCAA titles in 2010, 2013 and 2014. The Blue Devils return to Championship Weekend after losing to Yale in the NCAA Finals last year.
• Brad Smith leads Duke with 27 assists and is second on the team with 53 points.
• Joey Manown and Nakeie Montgomery round out the top Duke scorers with 25 and 21 goals, respectively.
• Turner Uppgren is saving 50.7 percent of shots between the pipes and is posting a 9.50 goals against average.

The winner will advance to the NCAA title game against the winner of Saturday’s game between Penn State (No. 1 seed) and Yale (No. 5 seed). The final matchup will be played at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field. The finals will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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