Tiffany motivated for another NCAA title run

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- It's been 50 days this week since Lars Tiffany's Virginia team won this year's NCAA men's lacrosse tournament.

Last week, Tiffany and two of the captains from last year's team -- midfielders Ryan Conrad and Dave Smith -- represented the university at the ESPYs, picking up UVA's Capital One Cup at the awards show. This week, Tiffany is back in Charlottesville hosting his annual camp.

"When reality is better than your wildest dreams, you're living a wonderful, fortunate life," UVA's head coach said when asked about the national championship.

But Tiffany didn't reminisce for long.

"We do want to enjoy it, right?" he said. "But enjoy it while you've just finished those 10 sprints. Enjoy it after a good workout. Because we want to build on this. We want to continue to get even better."

By beating Yale 13-9 in Philadelphia on Memorial Day, the Wahoos completed their run to the sixth NCAA championship in UVA men's lacrosse history. It was Tiffany's first title as a head coach.

The program has never won back-to-back championships. Changing that has pushed Tiffany this summer.

"We don't want to talk about repeating, but let's talk about it right now," he said. "Repeating looks really difficult. Very few teams are able to do that, across the board in all sports. There's going to be bigger challenges. We'll get better competition coming at us."

"What we control is ourselves," Tiffany added. "We've got to make sure each practice is that much more purpose, and that much more intense, so that we can raise to a different level."

That NCAA title capped Tiffany's third season at UVA. He says the biggest lesson he's learned about coaching at the school has come away from the lacrosse field.

"You've got to ignore all the trappings of being an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, in terms of the social scene," Tiffany said.

"It's really easy to have a lot of fun here in Charlottesville. And you've got to make that social smaller, smaller, and really small," he explained. "Our men did that in 2019, and look at the validation. A national championship. This is the path. There is no Plan B when it comes to how we're going to behave off the field.

"I think the most important thing is that we have standards. And not just rules, but standards. And it comes from within, and it comes from those leaders."

The Wahoos will lose senior leaders like Smith and Conrad from this year's title team. But the top four scorers will be back in 2020, including rising seniors Michael Kraus and Dox Aitken -- who have been named captains for next season, along with Jared Conners and John Fox -- and rising juniors Matt Moore and Ian Laviano.

"We do have so much scoring back. Our faceoff men, Petey LaSalla and Justin Schwenk, and certainly Alex Rode back in the goal," Tiffany said. "It's fantastic - but the trappings are there too, to say, 'Wow, we've got everything back. We'll be back in Final Four weekend no problem.' We're going to fight that evil thought every day."