CHARLOTTESVILLE,Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The Cavaliers have not forgotten their last trip to Baltimore and even Coach Lars Tiffany has had that date on his mind all offseason.
"May 12, the season ended on that same field we're going to go back to," Tiffany said to media after practice on Wednesday.
After a lengthy delay due to thunder, Virginia fell to Loyola (Md.) 14-12 in the first round of the NCAA tournament, their first appearance since 2015. The now 6th-ranked Cavaliers will head back to Ridley Athletic Complex with something to prove.
"A sour taste in our mouths. I think we use that as some fuel for our fire," junior attackman Michael Kraus said, "But we're just excited for this year to start, excited for the first game. That's what we've been working for the whole year, so we're just ready to be back."
Virginia brings back All-Americans Kraus and midfielder Dox Aitken as well as 2017 All-American Ryan Conrad, who suffered a season-ending injury five games into last season. Conrad did play in last seasons opener, an overtime win over Loyola (Md.), but after missing the NCAA tournament, the senior captain has the team focused heading into Saturday.
"That's in the back of our minds whether we want it to be or not," Conrad said, "And I think that's going to add a little extra edge to our game, and hopefully we can come out and really bring that intensity, because we were a little flat the last time we played there."
Both teams will also be adjusting to new rules like a shot clock, but Tiffany says it should only help both teams speed and fluidity of play. So as usual between the Cavaliers and Greyhounds it will come down to the final possession.
"They get a lot of fans there, but our men are really, really excited about getting up there again and proving that not only are we a better team, but a smarter team," Tiffany said.