UVa Men's Lax Expecting 'Electric' Atmosphere in NCAA Tournament

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Senior attackman Mike D'Amario Senior attackman Mike D'Amario
Head coach Lars Tiffany Head coach Lars Tiffany

The UVa men's lacrosse team is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015, but that accomplishment doesn't mean the pressure is off.

"Playoff games, there's always pressure," says senior defenseman Scott Hooper.  "We want to win.  The end goal at the beginning of the season was to get a win on Memorial Day.  That goal is still attainable for us.  Right now we're just completely focused on this weekend."

Virginia will play Loyola in the first round.

The Cavaliers beat the Greyhounds 13-12 in overtime in the season opener this year.

Senior attackman Mike D'Amario says, "They were really good the first time we played them, and they're going to be really good the second time we play them.  They've improved a lot, and I think we have too."

Head coach Lars Tiffany says, "The season is a race to improve, and they certainly have improved.  Hopefully we have too.  What could be a better way to test that?  You essentially played a tie game the first time around, and now we get to play against at the end of the season to see who really did improve the most."

Senior defenseman Scott Hooper says the Cavaliers' biggest improvement since the first meeting with Loyola is confidence.

"You have to have that almost cocky, confident attitude," says Hooper.  "That's how you get better.  If you doubt yourself, you're not really going to play to the best of your abilities."

D'Amario adds, "When everyone brings energy, and we are playing unselfishly, and having fun while playing, I think when we're having fun, we're playing our best."

Four of the last five games against the Greyhounds have been decided by just one goal. 

UVa won 16-15 in front of a big crowd at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore last season.

"Besides Klockner, it's got to be one of my top three or four places to play," says Hooper.  "They usually always have a great showing."

Tiffany says, "They didn't disappoint last time, in February of 2017, when there was over 4,500 people at the game.  I'm expecting a city that loves its lacrosse, a school, a university that loves its lacrosse, to be a great atmosphere.  I hope we can help raise the level of that atmosphere, and make it even more electric."

Opening faceoff is set for 7:15 on Saturday in Baltimore.