CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- When asked what sparked his team's early-season turnaround, Virginia men's lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany pointed to a practice in New Jersey during the Cavaliers' trip to face Princeton.
"We were excited to play. We were eager to play. The trust was there," Tiffany said Wednesday at practice. "Yet we had just lost a couple games."
UVA was 1-2 going into that February 23 game at Princeton. Now the Cavaliers are 9-2, with a chance to complete a perfect 4-0 run through ACC play on Saturday when they visit Duke.
"This group has really bought in and believed in each other," Tiffany said. "More than most teams I've been around."
UVA rallied to win that Princeton game in overtime to even their record at 2-2. A week later, the Wahoos charged back from four goals down to win in overtime at Syracuse. That was followed by another four-goal rally to win in overtime, this time at home against Brown.
It was the first time in program history that UVA won three straight games in overtime. According to the Cavaliers, those late rallies have fueled their confidence as their winning streak has grown.
"There was a sense in the locker room that we could always come back, we could always stay in the game, stick with those big teams," said sophomore defenseman Kyle Kology. "And I think those second-half victories have really built on each other, and now we feel like we can stay with those teams that maybe last year we couldn't have."
The Wahoos' eight straight wins mark the program's longest streak since opening the 2012 season 8-0. UVA hasn't won nine in a row since starting the 2010 season 11-0.
"It's our momentum. We're having fun with each other," said sophomore attack man Matt Moore. "Like if you see us out here, we're celebrating, we're having fun. Just I think different than last year. We're just a closer group, culture's changed, and we're really having fun together. And we want to come out and practice, and we're having a good time doing it."