Colin Briggs wasn't sure if he would get a chance to play in the lacrosse national championship game.
The Virginia midfielder stood on the sideline Saturday watching his Cavaliers beat Denver in the semifinals. Coach Dom Starsia had suspended him prior to the Final Four for committing a team infraction and was noncommittal when asked Saturday evening if the senior would be in uniform yesterday. Starsia decided to reinstate Briggs, and it proved a wise move.
Briggs scored a career-high five goals as seventh-seeded Virginia edged Maryland, 9-7, in a slow, methodical affair in Baltimore to capture its fifth Division I national championship. Briggs scored three times on uncontested shots and twice beat defenders one-on-one, earning the most outstanding player award.
"I definitely disappointed myself and let down the team on Saturday. I wanted to come back today and give everything I had," Briggs said. "I got some open looks and was able to finish some shots."
Game time temperature was 96 degrees and it was even hotter at field level on a sun-scorched afternoon. Briggs appeared a step faster than everyone else and agreed that sitting out Saturday gave him an edge over those who were playing for the second time in 3 days.
"I definitely felt fresh out there, especially in the fourth quarter. I still had legs while maybe some other guys didn't," he said.
Matt White scored three goals for Virginia (13-5), which has captured four of its NCAA titles under Starsia, the Division I all-time leader with 329 career victories.
Grant Catalino had two goals and an assist for unseeded Maryland (13-6), which fell despite outshooting Virginia, 32-26 and winning 12 of 19 faceoffs.
Maryland lost in the finals for the sixth time since capturing its last national title in 1975.
* No. 1 Virginia was selected as the top overall seed for the 64-team NCAA Division I college baseball tournament.
The Cavaliers (49-9) won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday.
Virginia opens against Patriot League champion Navy (33-23-1).