Cockerton, Virginia Outlast Drexel 11-10
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PHILADELPHIA — On a frigid Sunday afternoon at Drexel’s Vidas Field, a local guy kept Virginia alive until its offense warmed up. Then the player best suited for the temperatures delivered the two biggest goals.
Mark Cockerton caught a deflected no-look pass from Owen Van Arsdale with 13 seconds remaining and fired in the winning goal to give No. 9 Virginia an 11-10 non-league victory over Drexel. It was the Cavaliers’ third one-goal victory over the Dragons in three seasons, and their third one-goal win in as many games this year.
The mercury hovered near 28 degrees for most of the contest, but Cockerton had a simple explanation for not feeling any late-game chills.
“I’m from Canada so I’m used to it,” the senior from Oshawa, Ont, said.
It was Cockerton’s second goal in the final three minutes, following a stretch in which Drexel held the Wahoos scoreless for 18:14.
During that time, the Dragons erased a 9-5 deficit thanks to a goal from Nick Trizano (four goals, one assist) and three straight from Cole Shafer (four goals). Cockerton (two goals, two assists) scored his first goal with 2:56 left to put Virginia briefly ahead, 10-9. Trizano answered one minute later to tie it up.
“I was kind of getting double, triple teamed the entire way,” Cockerton said. “I saw some net and just put it in there. It was pretty excited.”
Drexel dominated possession throughout and won the draws, 19-6. Despite this, the Dragons trailed, 6-5, at halftime thanks mostly to the efforts of UVA’s true freshman goalie, Matt Barrett, who finished with 16 saves in his third career start.
Barrett, who starred in high school at nearby Malvern Prep, was undaunted by the early homecoming.
“It’s a really cool environment to play in,” Barrett said. “The fans are cool, chirping me and stuff. It’s a Philly crowd, so I was kind of used to it before I came out here.”
Said UVA coach Dom Starsia: “That was his best moment of the season so far. He hasn’t really been to blame for the close games we’ve had. I was a little nervous with him coming close to home but he stepped up.”
But the coach didn’t seem to like that these close games were becoming a habit. Drexel had a chance to send Virginia to its second overtime of the young season, but could not get a final shot off.
“I think we consistently exhibit some qualities you like to see in your team,” Starsia said. “But at the same time I don’t think we’ve been a really good lacrosse team for 60 minutes yet. We need to start fixing that. I look in the eyes of my veterans and I see guys that I thought made mistakes late in the game that we just can’t have.”
But for the third straight game, and the third straight season against Drexel, those mistakes won’t hurt Virginia’s record. The Wahoos improved to 3-0. Van Arsdale (two goals, two assists), Ryan Tucker (two goals) and James Pannell (two goals) also boasted multi-point days for the Wahoos.
For Drexel, it was the season opener, and, while his team didn’t get the win, Drexel coach Brian Voelker, said he saw a lot of things he liked. Drexel’s two sophomore goalies, Wil Gabrielsen (six goals against, five saves) and Cal Winkelman (five goals against, eight saves) split time and played well.
“I’m bummed we didn’t win it,” Voelker said. “I said to Dom, ‘I’m getting a little tired of these one goal games against you guys.’ The bottom line is we had our chances at the end those guys capitalized.”
Was it the presence of a clutch Canadian that really allowed the Cavaliers to capitalize? Probably not. Cockerton said he hadn’t even offered any of his Southern-bred teammates advice about dealing with the cold.
“I should though,” he added.
Because in a winter like this, even Charlottesville isn’t immune from Mother Nature's wrath.
“We got a foot and a half last week,” Barrett said. “But my mom and dad were telling me that they lost power and stuff. Better to be down south.”
Better for UVA that Barrett, and Cockerton, headed down south, too.