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Ryan Conrad Returns; No. 4 UVa Men's Lax Battles No. 6 Loyola in Season Opener

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UVa senior midfielder Ryan Conrad UVa senior midfielder Ryan Conrad
Virginia head coach Lars Tiffany Virginia head coach Lars Tiffany
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The college lacrosse season begins with a bang this weekend.

It's a Top-10 showdown, with 6th ranked Virginia playing 4th ranked Loyola in Baltimore on Saturday.

Lars Tiffany begins his third season as head coach of the 'Hoos.

The team returns it's top two scorers from last season, All-Americans Michael Kraus and Dox Aitken.

Virginia beat Loyola 13-12 in overtime in the season opener last year, but the Greyhounds ended UVa's season with a 14-12 victory in the NCAA Tournament.

Senior midfielder Ryan Conrad says, "That's in the back of our minds, whether we want it to be, or not.  I think that's going to add a little extra edge to our game, and hopefully we can come out and really bring that intensity, because we were a little flat the last time we played there."

"We use that as some fuel for our fire, but we're just excited for this year to start," says junior attackman Michael Kraus.  "Excited for the first game.  It's what we've been working for the whole year, so we're just ready to be back."

Head coach Lars Tiffany adds, "I love going after a big boy from the opener.  You see it in college football, happening more and more.  I think it's really the best way to find out who you are."

Conrad is back on the field for his senior season with the UVa men's lacrosse team.

The 2018 preseason All-American was expected to be a big part of the Cavaliers' midfield last year, but he missed most of the season with a knee injury.

Conrad says, "I'm just excited to be back on this practice field, and being able to play in actual games is just extra.  Being able to play with these guys is really where I want to be.  I'm incredibly excited to get back out there and actually show what I've got in real games."

"He can play all over the field," says Kraus.  "He's a threat everywhere, on defense, offense, and transition.  It's really big that he's back for us, and we're excited about that."

Tiffany says, "He allows us to be better in the middle of the field, he allows our offense to be better, and he allows our team defense to be better.  It's a huge boost having our captain and our leader back."