'Hoos bring different mindset to this year's ACC title game

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The Virginia men's lacrosse team has had all week to prepare for Saturday's rematch with Notre Dame at Klockner Stadium for the ACC championship.

It's a significant difference from last year, when the Wahoos only had a day to prepare to face the Irish.

According to the Cavaliers, that's not the only difference from a spring ago.

"Notre Dame was only playing on one day rest, but they showed up with the mindset of winning the ACC championship," UVA head coach Lars Tiffany recalled at practice on Wednesday.

Virginia was the No. 4 seed in last year's bracket, which was played with a two-round, Friday-Sunday format. The program hadn't won an ACC Tournament game since 2013 until UVA's victory over Syracuse in the semifinals.

The Irish beat the Wahoos 17-7 in last year's title game.

"We were so ecstatic that we had just beaten Syracuse a year ago in the ACC semifinals, that I don't know if we really knew what our mission was the next day," Tiffany said. "That we were just sort of like, 'Wow, we won an ACC tournament game. This is great. I think we're going to the NCAA tournament.' We weren't on a mission to win an ACC championship. That's the difference between the mindset of Virginia 2018 versus 2019."

This year, UVA is the top seed in the ACC bracket, which added a single first-round game between the two lowest seeds. That was played last Thursday in Chapel Hill, followed by Saturday's semifinals. Virginia rallied to beat No. 5 seed North Carolina in the first semi, followed by No. 3 seed Notre Dame beating No. 2 seed Duke.

UVA beat the Irish 13-11 at Klockner during the regular season. That win snapped the Cavaliers' six-game losing streak in the series, which dated back to Notre Dame's arrival in the ACC in 2014.

A win on Saturday would give Virginia its first ACC title since 2010, and the 18th in program history.

"I think we believe in ourselves more. I think our confidence is higher," said UVA junior attackman Michael Kraus. "We're not looking for somebody to make a play. We're confident in ourselves, that we can make our own play. We're playing better as a team, in all aspects. And we've got a lot of threats on the field. And I think confidence combined with that, with multiple threats is what got us to where we are now."



 
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