Cavalier Corner

June 2019

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JUNE 2019 21 BY BRAD FRANKLIN I T'S SAFE TO SAY THAT, FOR A pretty long time before they actually arrived on Grounds at UVA, Dox Aitken and Michael Kraus wanted nothing more than to play lacrosse for the Cavaliers. And when things dipped well after their commitments, they still wanted to be Wahoos and dreamed of doing exactly what they did on Memorial Day. That's when the "Cardiac Cavs," the team of destiny in arguably one of the game's most exciting tour- naments, left no doubt on the way to a national title with both third-years making major con- tributions in the effort. Aitken and Kraus, who combined to score five goals in UVA's 13-9 win over Yale in the national champion- ship game May 27, were a big part of why the Hoos put together their best season in nearly a decade. Aitken, a 6-2, 210- pounder from Villanova, Pa., finished the campaign with 44 goals, a big reason why he already ranks No. 1 all time at UVA in ca- reer goals (110) and points (141) by a midfielder. "I continue to see Dox progress and develop his game, which is saying a lot when you're coming off first-team All- American as a second-year," head coach Lars Tiffany said prior to the Final Four. "He continues to see a variety of defensive packages. Many teams will put their best defender on him in the middle of the field, the long-stick midfielder. "Other teams are putting their best short-stick defender on him and sliding to him early. Some teams are putting their best long-stick middie on him and sliding." Kraus, the 5-11, 195-pound attackman from New Canaan, Conn., was No. 1 in the ACC in points per game (4.31), second in assists per game (1.92), and fourth in goals per game (2.38) heading into the postseason. He finished 22nd nationally in points per game and 27th in assists. He also became the 16th Cavalier in program his- tory to record 100 career goals, the third fastest to reach that landmark. He had 39 goals and 36 assists for 75 points — each ranked second on the team this season — but he did so in just 17 games, missing three due to injury. Before the team left for Philadelphia, Tiffany made no qualms about how much talent he inherited at UVA, a "program steeped in tradition" that was "filled" with good players. He saw it as his job to help the group to become more "cohesive" so they could realize their full potential. "The cupboard wasn't bare," the third-year coach admitted. "We had a tremendous amount of talent. Aitken, a third-year midfielder, was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team and set a UVA record for single-season points by a midfielder (52). PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA

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