Shellenberger’s 10 Points Lifts No. 1 Virginia Over Towson, 19-12
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – For the second time this season, Connor Shellenberger (4g, 6a) tied his career high of 10 points to lead No. 1 Virginia (6-0) to a 19-12 victory over Towson (1-5) at Klöckner Stadium Saturday night (March 11).
The Cavaliers – also the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense – scored at least 17 goals for the sixth consecutive game. For the third straight game, Xander Dickson (4g, 2a) recorded six points.
Virginia goalie Matthew Nunes improved to 6-0 on the season, finishing with nine saves, including five in the third period. Towson’s Evan Long fell to 1-4 on the year but recorded 19 saves, which matched his career best.
HOW IT HAPPENED
For the first time this season, UVA’s opponent struck first. The Tigers scored within the first five seconds of the game after Matt Constantinides won the opening faceoff and dished it to Joaquin Villagomez, who buried a shot from the wing. The Cavaliers started settle in minutes later, scoring four of the next five goals to lead it 4-2 at the end of the period. Shellenberger assisted on a Dickson man-up goal with 1:33 left the in period. Long made 10 of his 19 saves in the opening quarter after UVA fired off 18 shots. The Cavaliers forced seven Towson turnovers in the first 15 minutes of action, including two failed clears.
After Virginia flipped the score in the first quarter, the Tigers never regained the lead the rest of the way. The Hoos outscored the Tigers, 5-4, in the second period to cling to a 9-6 lead at the half. Jeff Conner (2g, 2a) notched back-to-back goals for UVA in the second as did Dickson. After Shellenberger got on the board with 1:01 remaining, Towson’s Nick DeMaio (4g) found the back of the net with five seconds left.
Coming out of the break, the Tigers scored the first two goals of the second half to cut UVA’s lead back to one [9-8]. Shortly thereafter, Shellenberger took over the game as he either scored or assisted on six of UVA’s next seven goals. The Cavaliers scored five straight to close out the third and extend their lead to 14-8 heading into the fourth. Virginia dominated the ground ball game in period No. 3, doubling up the Tigers, 18-9, and won six of the period’s eight total faceoffs.
Like the second period, the Cavaliers outscored Towson 5-4 in the fourth to erase any chance at a Tigers’ comeback. Peter Garno (2g) ripped his second goal to kick off the fourth on an assist from Shellenberger on a UVA extra-man opportunity. Thomas McConvey recorded his third hat trick of the season with his third goal of the game in the middle of the fourth. UVA midfielder Evan Zinn notched his second goal of the season on a shot from UVA’s own defensive box amid a Towson 10-man ride.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Lars Tiffany on Connor Shellenberger …
“[We’re] certainly really excited about to see Connor Shellenberger explode the way he did. He hasn’t been scoring a lot of goals for us, but he hasn’t needed to. He recognized as the game progressed, we needed him to go to the goal. We needed him to be more of a one-on-one dodging threat. He steps up and plays that role. And then of course, that obviously now draws slides and now Connor can continue to generate offense with assists. We’re very fortunate to have Connor Shellenberger here.”
Lars Tiffany on Virginia’s ride and ground ball play…
“[I’m] really excited about our ride. How we were able to pressure Towson and to [make them] uncomfortable and create some turnovers in our ride led by Cole Kastner wreaking havoc. Really, really happy with the intensity that we showed and how we cranked up our play off the ground as the game went on.”
Lars Tiffany on Towson …
“Give credit to Sean Nadelen and his program. They came to Charlottesville not intimidated and they threw some haymakers. They gave us all we [could] handle today. How about that hot goalie? Having Long – he was an absolute wall in the first quarter, and then again in the third quarter. He made us really, really work and earn our goals today. Give them a lot of credit.”
WITH THE WIN…
- The Cavaliers are off to a 6-0 start for second consecutive season.
- Virginia improved to 16-3 in the all-time series against the Tigers, which began in 1972. UVA also extended its win streak in the series, which began in 2001, to 13 straight games.
- The Cavaliers also extended their win streak at Klöckner Stadium to 13 straight games, a streak that began in 2021. UVA is now 170-43 all-time at Klöckner Stadium, including 4-0 in 2023.
- Virginia has scored 17 goals or more in its first six games.
- For the second time this season, Connor Shellenberger (4g, 6a) tied his career high of 10 points, which he set earlier this season in UVA’s 25-21 win over Harvard.
- With four goals and two assists, Xander Dickson recorded his third consecutive outing with six points. Dickson has scored at least four points in all six games so far this season and is averaging 5.33 points per game, second only to Shellenberger (5.83).
- With three goals and two assists, Thomas McConvey extended his point streak to 58 games. Having registered at least one point in all 58 career games, McConvey’s streak is the longest among all active Division-I players. For his career, McConvey has amassed 139 goals and 59 assists.
- Virginia won the ground ball margin, 45-39, and picked up 18 ground balls in the third period.
- The Cavaliers forced five Towson failed clears. UVA finished 18-for-19 on its clear attempts.
The Cavaliers return to Klöckner Stadium on Saturday (March 18) to host Maryland (4-2) in a rematch of the 2021 national championship. Opening faceoff is set for 2 p.m. on ACC Network.