March 31, 2012

Stanwick Shines Again as Virginia Wears Down Maryland, 12-8

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Live Blog Replay

Steele Stanwick matched a career-best with eight points in Virginia's 12-8 win over Maryland on Saturday at Byrd Stadium.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Reigning Tewaaraton Award winner Steele Stanwick added a few more highlights to already overflowing collection Saturday, matching a career-high with eight points – including scoring a fourth-quarter goal one-handed from the ground – in third-ranked Virginia's 12-8 win over No. 9 Maryland at Byrd Stadium.

In a rematch of last year's national championship, Stanwick had three goals and five assists. He provided helpers on two of Chris Bocklet's three goals. Stanwick also scored a goal that put the Cavaliers up 9-7 and assisted on another that gave Virginia another key two-goal lead with 8:20 left.

But it was not a comfortable win for the reigning champs, who were coming off a one-goal loss at home to Johns Hopkins a week earlier. Maryland led 7-5 midway through the third quarter before Cavaliers (9-1, 1-0 ACC) overcame the deficit and finished off Maryland, in part by winning the second-half ground ball battle 19-8 and getting timely saves from goaltender Rob Fortunato, who made 15.

Virginia scored seven of the game's final eight goals. Maryland falls to 5-3 and 1-2 in the ACC with the loss. Joe Cummings and Michael Shakespeare led the Terps with two goals apiece.

"It was a real slugfest there, especially through the first half [that ended tied at 5]," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "It felt like we hadn't scored an easy goal for a long time. When things aren't going great, or there's not a lot of sparkle out there, you just need a couple of your big boys to step up and make plays. As that game was being decided, that's exactly what happened."

Stanwick, guarded by Maryland freshman longpole Goran Murray for most of the game, took matters into his own hands with the Cavaliers trailing by two with 6:14 left in the third quarter. On the crease, Stanwick took on Murray one-on-one, and just before colliding with a slide, stuffed a shot past Niko Amato to cut the Maryland lead to 7-6.

Rob Emery scored from Stanwick to tie the game. Virginia went up 9-7 with 10:33 left in the fourth when Bocklet fed Stanwick for a high-to-high goal near goal-line extended to the left of Amato. Two minutes later, Stanwick delivered a spot feed in front to Matt White, who put the Cavaliers up 10-8.

Stanwick's goal just over a minute later that put the Cavaliers up by three is one to add to his career highlight package. On the ground with defenders on him near the crease to the right of Amato, he somehow threw the ball in one-handed.

"I stumbled and kind of ran into a double-team, I don't even know," said Stanwick, who tied a career high in points set last season in a pair of games against Bucknell and Mount St. Mary's. "My instincts took over. I just kind of jumped and spun and came down. I know I was close to crease, but I'm glad the refs said it was a goal."

Maryland split its faceoff duties between Curtis Holmes, who has been dealing with injury, and freshman Charlie Raffa, a member of the U.S U19 team. Raffa went 5-for-15 and Holmes went 5-for-8 and the latter took the majority of the draws in the fourth quarter.

Maryland played a turnover-free fourth, which began tied at seven, but Virginia had the edge in second-chance opportunities, Terps coach John Tillman said.

Ryan Benincasa (9-for-15 on faceoffs) and Stanwick led Virginia with five ground balls. Seventeen Cavaliers were credited with at least one ground ball.

"There were some 50-50 ground balls of faceoffs that they got," Tillman said. "It felt like the ball just kept ending up at that end ... For a while, in the third quarter, we had a good tempo going but they made some saves when they needed to make them. They got stops when they needed to get them, and Stanwick stepped up and made some plays that only he can make."

"You can't give that offense a lot of chances. You have to get the ball off the ground. They're dangerous in so many spots. If Stanwick's not getting you, then it's Emery, [Colin] Briggs and on and on and on. In the first half, we didn't play our best, but we managed the game well. We had the ball on offense a lot. They zoned us, we did fine against it, had a long possession and scored. We were where we needed to be at halftime."


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