Memories flood back in Virginia's return to Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Virginia head coach Lars Tiffany says every practice is building up to Championship Weekend, but even he was engulfed by the emotion of returning to Lincoln Financial Field.
"As we ran on the field for practice, I was startled and we've been here before," Tiffany said on Friday, "We were here four years ago, obviously we were at the Final Four two years ago in Hartford, it still takes your breath away though."
The Cavaliers took the practice field in Philadelphia on Friday to open Championship Weekend before taking on Notre Dame on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. "The Linc" is not only the site of this year's NCAA Championship, but also where Virginia won the program's sixth title and Lars Tiffany's first back in 2019.
"Felt like so long ago, five years. I don't really remember a lot of it, I was so young and just living in the moment," senior defenseman Cade Saustad said, "But it's definitely cool being out here, definitely giving me memories of five years ago."
Saustad was one of five first-years on the field that day beating Yale 13-9, who are now fifth-year seniors looking for a third NCAA title. Midfielder Thomas McConvey also began his college career in 2019, but is making his first appearance in Championship Weekend after grad transferring from Vermont.
"Kind of walking out of this tunnel and onto the field for the first time, it's definitely the biggest stage I've been on for lacrosse," McConvey said, "I've heard the stories, they've told me all the stories from '19 and '21."
The group of five fifth-year seniors could claim their third NCAA Championship this weekend, which would be the most by any class in UVA program history. Others with the Cavaliers will look for a second, while players like McConvey and the freshman and sophomore groups are looking for their first.
"This is my goal all year, this is why I kind of chose UVA for the moments like this, this big stage and this is what we've been practicing for all year," McConvey said.
This weekend is the culmination of a long journey for Tiffany and the fifth-year seniors, who were some of the first players committed to Tiffany at UVA. Come Memorial Day, Tiffany hopes to end the journey the same way it began on the same field.
"This one it feels incredibly fortunate to have all the experience," Tiffany said, "But also I'm going to be a wreck no matter what the results are come Tuesday."