BALTIMORE, Md. – Steele Stanwick found Colin Briggs in front of the crease to lift the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (7-0) to a 9-8 overtime win over the No. 3 Cornell Big Red (3-1) in front of 17,138 fans inside M&T Bank Stadium at Saturday’s Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic. Virginia is now 4-0 all-time in the Face-Off Classic.
“It was a great lacrosse game,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia. “Two teams battling the whole time – I told the kids in the huddle after the game that even if we didn’t get the winner I would have been very proud of our effort overall anyway. We have played a lot of lacrosse over the last two weeks, I wouldn’t allow that to be used as an excuse, but we also talked about this being the toughest game of the stretch that we just went through and it played out that way.
“I think we played a very inspired Cornell team today, and credit to them for battling for 60 minutes, plus overtime. I thought both teams played good defense today.”
Virginia managed the game’s only goal in the first quarter on a highlight reel play from Steele Stanwick to Mark Cockerton with 5:53 remaining in the period. Stanwick was double teamed on a dodge and found Cockerton as he was falling down. The UVa defense clamped down the Cornell offense in the opening period, the first quarter this season the Big Red have been shutout.
UVa took a 2-0 lead when Scott McWilliams picked up a ground ball on the defensive end and ran the length of the field untouched and deposited his first collegiate goal at 13:31 in the second quarter.
Cornell rebounded to score three goals in a row and take a 3-2 lead, the Big Red’s only advantage of the afternoon. JJ Gilbane deposited a Max Van Bourgondien pass in the back of the net at the 6:49 mark in the second quarter to cap the streak.
The Big Red’s only lead lasted 12 seconds when UVa countered on a Stanwick to Chris Bocklet combo at 6:37 to tie the contest. Briggs found Cockerton at 5:06 to give UVa the 4-3 advantage.
Cornell evened the game, 4-4, going into the intermission after Steve Mock picked up a blocked shot and quickly tallied the goal with 2:11 left in the first half.
Virginia came out of the break with three unassisted goals, the first two by Rob Emery, and Briggs capped the streak with 1:24 left in the third quarter as UVa held Cornell scoreless in the third stanza.
Chris Langton scored with 13:31 left in regulation to bring Cornell within two, 7-5. Briggs then found Stanwick in front of the crease with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter, pushing UVa’s advantage back to three goals, 8-5.
Cornell came rushing back, scoring three-straight goals to knot the score at 8-8. Former Cavalier Conner English scored back-to-back goals, bringing Cornell within one goal. The comeback was complete for Cornell after a tremendous save by UVa goalie Rob Fortunato caromed toward Van Bourgondien, who quickly deposited the game-tying score.
In overtime Mick Parks won the opening faceoff, but UVa was unable to get the ball cleared, losing possession. Cornell was unable to get a shot off, turning the ball over on a dropped pass. Bobby Hill picked up the crucial ground ball and was able to clear the ball as Virginia called a timeout to set up the winning score.
Cornell won the ground ball battle (30-27) and the faceoffs (11-10). UVa won the shots battle (38-35) and managed to have fewer turnovers (9-13). Saves were tied, 9-9.
Stanwick led UVa with one goal and three assists, including the game-winning helper. Briggs, Cockerton and Emery all scored two goals apiece. Chris LaPierre led UVa with a game-high six ground balls.
Virginia returns to action on Saturday when the Cavaliers make their second-ever trip to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m.