Wahoos' Wild Win Sends Them to Final Four
by Corey McLaughlin | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online | Game Blog
Virginia goalie Adam Ghitelman made 13 saves, including one with about 30 seconds remaining, to preserve the Cavaliers' 10-9 victory over host Stony Brook in the NCAA quarterfinals Sunday.
© Matt Riley
STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- When Virginia’s wild
10-9 win over Stony Brook was over, Shamel Bratton said of reaching
the final four: “It doesn’t matter how you got there as
long as you’re there.”
But for these Cavaliers, of course it matters.
Carrying with them varying and immeasurable emotions of the May 3 murder of Yeardley Love allegedly at the hands of teammate George Huguely -- and the admitted desire to continue winning for the Virginia women’s team -- the top-ranked Cavaliers held off Stony Brook in an NCAA Division I men's lacrosse quarterfinal Sunday afternoon in front of a partisan crowd of 10,024 fans at the Seawolves’ home LaValle Stadium.
Eighth-seeded Stony Brook, which trailed by four goals early in the second quarter, twice tied the score in the fourth quarter. And with each goal, the roars from the stands grew louder.
But Chris Bocklet’s third goal of the game with 5:21 left
gave the Cavaliers a 9-8 lead, and second-line midfielder Colin
Briggs scored what proved to be the winner with 3:45 remaining off
a Bocklet pass.
Stony Brook’s Tom Compitello scored with just over two minutes to go, but the Seawolves weren’t able to finish a final rally. Virginia goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman made the last of his 13 saves with about 30 seconds left on a shot from the left wing by Jordan McBride. From there, the Cavaliers ran out the clock.
Virginia will play Duke in the final four on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, where the emotional storyline of the Cavaliers' season will continue.
And end, one way or another.
Given the circumstances of the team since the former midfielder Huguely was charged with Love's murder, Virginia coach Dom Starsia admitted that as he stood on the sideline in the fourth quarter Sunday with the outcome very much in doubt, “I was prepared to tell you I was proud of my team no matter what.”
But despite being outshot 36-29 and not even making a dent in the faceoff department -- Stony Brook’s Adam Rand won 18 of 23 draws -- Virginia earned the win in an unfriendly road environment.
The first rule of Project Mayhem: don't ask questions.
Now the Cavaliers will practice together for another week, with
the thought of winning two more games for themselves and to honor
the Virginia women’s team, which was eliminated from its
“We really want it for them now,” Ghitelman said. “There’s a lot of motivation for me personally and the team, definitely. Those girls deserve everything. We want play for them for the rest of this year.”
Said defenseman Ken Clausen: “We’re not ready for this thing to end yet … Playing for the girls' team, that’s been on our mind, and we’re all happy to be sticking together for another week.”
Virginia, now 16-1, raced to a 5-1 lead 2:34 into the second quarter before Stony Brook (13-4) scored four straight to tie it at 5 with 5:30 left in the third. Bocklet then scored back-to-back goals a minute apart in the final two minutes of the third quarter to give the Cavaliers a 7-5 lead.
But Stony Brook responded with its own quick spurt: two goals in a span of 20 seconds in the first minute of the fourth quarter. The second of those, by long-stick midfielder Steven Waldeck, sent the crowd into a frenzy. There was a similar roar with 5:36 to go when Crowley scored his second goal to tie the score at 8.
“You end your season playing a hard-fought battle against the best team in the country,” Stony Brook coach Rick Sowell said. “We knew we were going to have our hands full, but we weren’t intimidated.”
Shamel Bratton, a Huntington, N.Y., native playing in his hometown area on Long Island, also had three goals for Virginia. Bocklet added two assists. Ghitelman made several key saves, including the one in the final minute on Crowley. Charlie Paar made 10 saves for Stony Brook.
“Sometimes it’s just about the winning,” Starsia said. “When you get to the playoffs, it’s about being able to play again. We get to play again. At the end of the day, being stretched like this against this team will help us as we get ready to play our next opponent. I’m proud that we’re headed back to the final weekend.”
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