What a game! Virginia got a an incredible point blank save from their goalie Alex Rode to preserve a 17-16 win against Maryland in an instant classic of an NCAA men’s lacrosse championship game Memorial Day 2021 in front of 14,816 spectators in East Hartford, Conn. It was the second consecutive tournament title for the Cavaliers and 7th NCAA Men’s Lacrosse title in school history.
Connor Shellenberger and Matt Moore were the clear offensive stars for Virginia (14-4), each registering four goals and two assists. Shellenberger, a true freshman, was voted the tournament’s most outstanding player for the Cavs. Logan Wisnauskas led the scoring for the Terps (15-1) with five goals and an assist. Maryland ultimately fell one goal short of their bid to be the first undefeated NCAA champ since Virginia’s 17-0 2006 team.
It was a game of wild scoring runs and momentum swings. Maryland notched a 4-2 lead in the first quarter, but the Cavs tallied 6 to take an 8-4 lead midway through the second quarter. The Terrapins got the next three scores before Virginia stopped the run to take a 9-7 into into halftime.
The Terps answered with a three-goal burst to pull even at 11-11 with 11:04 remaining in the third quarter, but the Cavs scored the next five to take their biggest lead of the game at 16-11 near the midpoint of the fourth quarter. The Terps had one more run left in them, scoring the next four to pull within 16-15 with 3:57 to go in the game.
Moore’s fourth goal of the game provided a two-goal cushion for the Cavs, but Anthony DeMaio’s score with 10.8 seconds in regulation gave the Terps one final chance. Luke Wierman won the next faceoff. But Rode, who won most outstanding player during the Cavs 2019 title run, made the last of his 12 saves to preserve the win.
Rode onceded after the game, “It wasn’t my best game in the goal…my defense did a great job all day, so I felt like I owed them one.”
Coach Lars Tiffany stated after the game, “What an incredible experience to be part of such an exciting game. I fell in love with this game in 1983 when I watched Syracuse beat Johns Hopkins 17-16. And lo and behold we had the same score today.”
Maryland, which is played in its 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament, the longest active streak in the nation, now has an all-time record of 66-40, however, with just two championships since 1975, despite consistently fielding elite teams, the program continues to struggle to bring home the title.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton, aka, Dr. Lax, was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is the author of The Man In The White Coat: A Veterinarian’s Tail of Love, president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.