Holy shit. What a game. What a season. What a sport.
That was everything that we could have ever asked for and then some. Lacrosse is a game of runs. It's been that way since its inception. But what we witnessed today? With both teams stringing together 3 and 4-goal runs to go back and forth the entire afternoon? It was incredible. It was not only one of the most exciting games of the college lacrosse season, but I'd go ahead and say it's right up there with any other game played in the game's history. A 17-16 final with multiple lead changes and both teams being led by the studs who brought them there.
But in the end, the difference maker was that Virginia has the biggest menace in college lacrosse and this freak is still eligibility wise a freshman. He goes by the name of Connor Shellenberger.
The fact that Virginia still has 3 more years with this guy is ridiculous. I feel like he has to be the first player to ever declare early for the PLL Draft because I can't imagine how easy this game is going to be for him going up against college defenses until 2024. You think about all the weapons that Virginia has on offense. Matt Moore had another vintage Matt Moore performance. Jeff Conner put in 3 goals. Dox Aitken is a horse. Ian Laviano is the spark plug. All guys who played big roles for Virginia when they won the whole thing in 2019. Meanwhile, Shellenberg was still in high school in 2019. And today he looked like the clear leader of this offense. The general. Out there directing traffic, setting the pace, and going off for another 6-point performance. He's a freak.
But for Maryland to be able to come back from being down 5-goals with 7 minutes left and still have this game come down to the very last shot? It was incredible. I'll never be able to find enough words to describe how electric that entire game, and especially that 4th quarter was.
Wild game. Wild finish. And for the first time since Duke in '13 and '14, we have a back-to-back champion in college lacrosse. Congrats to the Virginia Cavaliers. And if you want to know the REAL difference maker in this game, it's how many Philly kids are on Virginia's roster. Matt Moore with 4 goals and 2 assists. Jeff Conner with 3 goals and an assist. Dox Aitken with a goal and an assist. Peter Garno with a goal. Then mix in Kyle Long's goal and 3 assists for Maryland and you've got 17 points in the National Championship game all coming out of Delaware County. Delco lacrosse runs the world.
P.S. - As always, I want to thank everybody who followed along all season on the blogs and listening to the podcast. I know there are still people out there who try their hardest to shit on the game. But the sport is in a better place right now than it's ever been before. And I'm just so grateful to be able to watch this sport grow to where it's at and share all of these moments with you guys who really care. It means the world to me, and here's to keeping it rolling right into the PLL season next week.