Virginia vs. Dartmouth
April 18, 2009
The Game Story:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—The second-ranked Virginia Cavaliers erupted for eight goals in the fourth quarter to gain a 13-6 win Dartmouth before 4080 fans on Senior Day at Klöckner Stadium. The win is Virginia’s 15th Senior Day game in a row.

The Cavaliers close the regular season with a 13-1 record, while Dartmouth falls to 4-9 this season. Virginia turns its attention to next weekend’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Cavaliers are the tournament’s third seed and face second seed Duke in the semifinals on Friday night at approximately 7:30 p.m. Duke handed Virginia its only loss by a 15-10 count last weekend in Durham. Duke has won six consecutive games against the Cavaliers dating back to 2005.

“It’s a good win for us against a Dartmouth team that always plays well late in the season,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “It’s also a useful win for us because I think it’s a good teaching tool.”

Garrett Billings, Brian Carroll and Steve Giannone all scored three goals to lead the Virginia offense, while Danny Glading added one goal and assisted on three others.

Billings teamed with Glading to start Virginia on its 8-goal run in the fourth quarter that enabled his team to win going away. He tied the score at six by taking a pass from Glading and beating goalie Fergus Campbell from the right side from eight yards out at the 12:32 mark. Billings scored the game winner with just over 11 minutes remaining by taking another feed from Glading off a restart and sending a behind-the-back shot into the net to the delight of the Virginia fans in attendance.

Virginia’s ability to win faceoffs in the fourth quarter allowed the Cavaliers to dominate the game’s final quarter. Led by Chad Gaudet, the Cavaliers took eight of 10 in the fourth quarter. Gaudet won six of the first seven as the Cavaliers seized control over the final 15 minutes.

Gaudet’s fourth quarter performance was in direct contrast to his play in the first half when he was unable to win hardly any faceoffs. Dartmouth claimed nine of 10 first half draws and built a 5-3 lead at halftime.

“The single answer to the first half was that we didn’t win a faceoff,” said Starsia. “They would have long possessions on offense and the hardest thing to do in college lacrosse is to come down on offense after you haven’t had it for a long time and work to get a good shot. I thought we were sloppy and impatient in the first half.”

Virginia scored on its first two shots of the game, but took only one shot in the first 10 minutes of play as Dartmouth maintained possession for most of the period. Midfielder Steve Giannone, one of 12 Cavaliers making his final regular season appearance at Klöckner Stadium, gave his team a 2-1 lead at the 4:27 mark, but Dartmouth tallied the next three goals to take a 4-2 lead early in the second quarter.

Philip Killian knotted the score at two late in the first period to start the Big Green on its run. Jonathan Livadas notched an extra-man goal at 10:39 of the second quarter and Brian Koch scored 23 seconds later for the 2-goal advantage.

Billings scored his first goal of the game at the 7:37 mark but Tim Daniels followed two minutes later as Dartmouth took the 2-goal halftime lead. Daniels led Dartmouth with two goals.

“When I went in the locker room the first thing I said was, ‘fellas, I could stand here and peel the paint off the walls if you want, but you all know what we need to do in the second half,’” said Starsia. “Then Danny and Max Pomper and Ken Clausen and Mike Timms stand up and say the right things, which was more important than anything.”

Neither team was able to generate any scoring in the first 11 minutes of the second half before Carroll ended a drought of nearly 19 minutes with his second goal of the game to bring the Cavaliers within one at 5-4. Shamel Bratton scored his only goal of the game on a terrific dodge past his defender to knot the game at 6-all with 3.3 seconds remaining in the third quarter. After being outshot 17-11 in the first half, the Cavaliers held a 12-5 advantage in the third quarter.

“In the second half we started winning faceoffs,” Starsia said. “Now we get the ball and we can maintain some momentum. We’re generating good shots, we don’t hit every one of them, and we don’t get discouraged in the second half. Finally the dam bursts a little bit as we get into the fourth quarter.”

Daniels got his second goal of the game as Dartmouth regained a 6-5 lead with 13:18 left on the clock before the Cavaliers unleashed a tremendous offensive assault over the final 13 minutes of play. They pounded Dartmouth with 16 shots in that span, scoring eight times.

“I thought we took control almost immediately at the start of the third quarter even though we weren’t scoring a lot,” said Starsia. “I thought we had some really good chances early in the third quarter that we didn’t cash in on but we just kept working and didn’t get discouraged and I think eventually we wore them down in the fourth quarter.”

Steve Giannone scored twice in the quarter as Virginia completely dominated the visitors from New Hampshire; he tied his career high with three goals. In addition to holding a huge shot advantage (18-5), the Cavaliers also scooped up 15 ground balls to Dartmouth’s 12 in the quarter.

Adam Ghitelman recorded nine saves for Virginia before giving way to senior Mark Wade in the final minute. Gaudet led the Cavaliers with five ground balls, while winning eight of 19 faceoffs.

“I don’t think I’ll have any trouble getting my team’s attention as we move forward for this game,” Starsia said about his team’s match-up with Duke in the upcoming ACC Championship. “We’ll have our hands full certainly for the (Blue Devils). They’re a quality team all over the field, but it’s a game we look forward to preparing for.”