— The seventh-seeded Virginia men's lacrosse team delivered the first surprise of the NCAA tournament with a convincing 13-9 upset of second-seeded Cornell in a quarterfinal at Hofstra University's James M. Shuart Stadium Saturday.
With the victory, the Cavaliers improved to 11-5 and advanced to their fourth consecutive semifinal, where they will meet No. 6 seed Denver on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium. The Pioneers walloped No. 3 seed John Hopkins, 14-9, in the second quarterfinal.
After nipping Bucknell, 13-12, in overtime in the first round last Sunday, Virginia was considered to be an afterthought against a Big Red team that had shared with Denver the current longest winning streak in Division I at 11 games.
Instead, the Cavaliers reeled off nine consecutive goals — including all seven goals of the second quarter — to rebound from a 4-1 deficit with 3:57 left in the first period to take a 10-4 advantage at halftime.
"We couldn't have scripted the second quarter any better," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia, who passed former Army coach Jack Emmer as the Division I leader in career wins with 327. "We talked about making the most of those opportunities, and I thought we shot the ball very well. I thought time of possession, I don't know what the numbers were, but I thought we dominated the ball."
Virginia was paced by junior attackman Steele Stanwick, who registered a game-high seven points on three goals and four assists. Stanwick, a Baltimore native and Loyola graduate who is one of five Tewaaraton Award finalists, has totaled six goals and nine assists in two NCAA tournament contests this season.
The Cavaliers also got three goals from junior attackman Chris Bocklet and two goals and one assist each from sophomore attackmen Matt White and Nick O'Reilly. Senior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman made a game-high 13 saves.
Sophomore attackman Steve Mock led Cornell (14-3) with four goals, as Virginia did a masterful job of keeping junior attackman Rob Pannell relatively quiet. Pannell, a Tewaaraton Award finalist, finished with three goals, but aggressive play by senior defenseman Bray Malphrus and a mystifying zone defense kept Pannell off the scoreboard for a span of 41 minutes, 8 seconds between his first goal in the first quarter and his second goal in the third.
"I think we had a lot of opportunities," Pannell said. "We could've scored, but you've got to give their goalie some credit. He made a lot of saves."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun