Virginia vs. Denver
April 28, 2003
The Game Story:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA-Leading 3-2 at halftime, the Virginia men's lacrosse team scored nine unanswered goals during the second half to post a 12-3 victory in its regular season finale over visiting Denver University at Klöckner Stadium. Senior midfielder A.J. Shannon paced the offense with a game-high four goals, while fellow senior midfielders' Chris Rotelli and Billy Glading contributed a hat-trick and two goals respectively. The decision gives the Cavaliers (11-2, 2-1 ACC) their sixth straight win as the squad heads into NCAA tourney action, while the Pioneers fall to 8-5 overall.

"I don't know if we lacked intensity [in the first half]," said Shannon. "We made a few mental errors, but goalie (Jeff Nunziato) made some huge saves. He stopped me a couple times when I thought I had one, and he stopped a bunch of other guys. The goalie was really hot. We just came out in the third quarter and sunk a couple of quick [goals] on him and he kind of lost his rhythm. The defense fell apart a little bit and we took advantage of it by capitalizing on the opportunities we had."

The only score of the first quarter came five minutes into the game when Glading found the back of the net on an assist by attackman Joe Yevoli.

During the second quarter, Denver scored back-to-back goals on its first two shots of the period. At the 10:26 mark, midfielder Blake Evans scored an unassisted goal that was followed a minute later by another unassisted score, courtesy of freshman midfielder Adam Swain. With the score 2-1 in favor of the Pioneers, both teams exchanged possessions for the remainder of the half until Shannon knotted the score on assist by Rotelli with two minutes remaining. A minute later, Virginia took the lead for good on an acrobatic, diving shot by attackman John Christmas that bounced past Nunziato, who finished with 21 saves.

In the third quarter, the Cavaliers continued where they left off by scoring seven unanswered goals. Christmas commenced the second half scoring spurt by putting a crease feed from midfielder Kyle Dixon into the net 30 seconds into the period. With the score 4-2, Shannon followed with back-to-back goals. At the 4:05 mark, attackman Matt Ward added to the lead on an assist from fellow freshman Foster Gilbert. Rotelli extended the lead by scoring the next three goals during the last three minutes of the third quarter to push Virginia's lead to 10-2.

After Shannon scored his fourth goal and Glading contributed his second to increase the Cavaliers' margin to 12-2, Denver scored the last goal of the game on freshman attackman Adam Miller's unassisted goal at the 7:37 mark.

Virginia now awaits a bid to the NCAA tournament which begins May 10th, while Denver hosts Air Force in its season-finale on May 5th.