Five former Virginia men’s lacrosse players advance to PLL playoff semifinals

The Premier Lacrosse League playoff quarter-finals were held last weekend and the Waterdogs, Whipsnakes, Atlas and Chaos advanced to the semi-finals in Philadelphia on September 5. Five players from these teams are alumni of the Virginia Cavaliers’ men’s lacrosse program: Ryan Conrad (Waterdogs), Michael Kraus (Waterdogs), Mark Cockerton (Atlas), Dox Aitken (Atlas) and Zed Williams (Whipsnakes).

Ryan Conrad, Dox Aitken, Michael Kraus, Mark Cockerton and Zed Williams represent UVA in PLL semi-final

The seeded Waterdogs, who secured a pass to the semi-finals, have two former Wahoos on the roster. Ryan Conrad and Michael Kraus were both part of the Virginia squad that won the 2019 national championship, the sixth in UVA program history and the first under head coach Lars Tiffany. Conrad was a USILA All-American team and ACC tournament MVP in 2019. This season, Conrad recorded five goals, 11 rushing balls and 11 forced turnovers in midfield for the Waterdogs.

Michael Kraus was a third All-American team and a 2019 Tewaaraton Trophy nominee. Kraus recorded 39 goals and 36 assists in 2019 and scored a hat trick in the national title game against Yale. Kraus has seen limited action for the Waterdogs this season, scoring three assists and one goal in four games played.

The Waterdogs face the No. 5 seed and two-time defending league champion Whipsnakes, who beat the No. 4 Redwoods, 14-13, in the quarter-finals. Zed Williams, who begins attacking for the Whipsnakes, played at UVA from 2014 to 2017 and was an All-ACC and All-American performer in 2017. Last season, Williams scored 20 PLL playoff goals and led the Whipsnakes at the 2020 PLL Championship. Williams has been named Jim Brown MVP of the 2020 PLL Playoffs. This season, Williams has 23 goals so far for the Whipsnakes, who are looking to win their third straight PLL title.

The other semi-final pits Chaos # 6, which beat Archers # 3 13-10 in the quarter-finals, and Atlas # 2, who beat Cannons # 7 13-9. The Atlas also has two former AVU men’s lacrosse players in their roster. Mark Cockerton played for Virginia from 2011 to 2014 and was part of the 2011 Cavaliers team that won the program’s fifth national championship. Cockerton recorded two assists in the title game as a freshman and had a very successful career at Virginia, including scoring 49 goals in 2013, ranking 4th in a single season in UVA history. and winning All-ACC and third-team All-US honors in 2013 and 2014. Cockerton has nine goals and four assists for the Atlas this season.
Dox Aitken was selected with the 8th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 PLL College Draft after a decorated career in five seasons at the University of Virginia from 2017 to 2021. Well known for taking over in the fourth quarter of what has been called “Dox Time”, Aitken won two national championships with Virginia in 2019 and 2021. He is the all-time leader of the UVA in terms of points and goals by a midfielder and is tied for 4th place. in total in the history of the AVU with 138 goals. Aitken was also a 2019 All-American First Team and was All-American all five of his UVA seasons. In five games this season, Aitken has scored four goals and two assists for the Atlas.

Be sure to tune in to NBCSN at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on September 5 to see these former UVA lacrosse stars go head to head in the Premier Lacrosse League playoff semifinals.

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