CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- After cheering his way through a 30-minute highlight video of the Cavaliers’ run to the 2019 NCAA championship with his teammates, Virginia junior attack man Ian Laviano admitted that what the Cavaliers accomplished last spring had started to sink in.
Laviano and the Wahoos were back together in Charlottesville celebrating that NCAA title. The Cavaliers received their championship rings as part of the team’s annual awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon at UVA’s Darden School of Business. That night, the champs were honored on the field at Scott Stadium following the first quarter of the football team’s game against Old Dominion.
“It's just reminiscing of all the good times we had, and how close we were as a team,” Laviano said. “And to get the whole team back for the first time since the game, it's awesome. It's a weekend of celebration. The early morning practices. The late nights. Just taking it all in, and enjoying it."
Laviano was just one of the stars of that half-hour look back on the Cavaliers’ historic run. He scored an ACC-best 51 goals as a sophomore -- none bigger than the last two he scored in UVA’s come-from-behind win against Duke in the NCAA semifinals. Laviano’s third goal that afternoon tied the game with just seconds left in regulation; his fourth won the game in double overtime.
Most of the members of the 2019 title team were back in town. All-American midfielder Ryan Conrad was one notable exception - though he did share a message that senior Michael Kraus shared with the crowd gathered at Darden’s auditorium. Another senior captain from last year’s team, midfielder Dave Smith, also addressed the audience before the highlight reel that closed Saturday afternoon’s awards ceremony.
”It's obviously the culmination of what we've been working toward our entire lives,” Smith said afterward. “It's awesome getting everybody back in town. It's a shame a couple guys couldn't make it, and we miss them dearly. I just hope alumni keep coming back, and keep getting the opportunity to come back. And now we have an excuse to come back to Charlottesville."
UVA’s championship rings feature the school’s V-Sabre logo, with seven small diamonds below the logo -- representing the program’s five previous NCAA titles, plus its two USILA championship -- and one large diamond above the logo to represent the 2019 championship.
”Each one of us can carry that with us through the rest of our lives, and when you look back at that you know and remember all the times that we had together,” senior defenseman Jarred Conners said of the Cavaliers’ new jewelry. “And you know that when you're looking at it, there's another guy from that same team looking at it at the same time, and it's truly a special moment."