#3 Virginia Pulls Out 20-15 Victory Over #4 Syracuse

#3 Virginia Pulls Out 20-15 Victory Over #4 Syracuse

#3 Virginia Pulls Out 20-15 Victory Over #4 Syracuse

#3 Virginia Pulls Out 20-15 Victory Over #4 Syracuse

One thing was evident before the ball ever hit the grass of Klockner Stadium on Saturday between the third-ranked Virginia Cavaliers (5-0) and the fourth-ranked Syracuse Orange (1-1): This was a new season. The raucous crowd of 4038, the energized players and the verbose coaches provided a frenzied atmosphere between these two top-five powerhouses that was missing from earlier Virginia men's lacrosse games like VMI and Stony Brook. In the end, Virginia’s offense proved to be too much taking down the Orange 20-15 in a classic shootout. The victory marked Virginia's 15th consecutive win at home, tying the school record, and their first victory over the Orange at home in 10 years.

These two high-powered offenses did not take long to get going, Syracuse captain Brett Bucktooth scored the game's first goal off a great feed by attacker Dan Hardy only 46 seconds into the game. Virginia retaliated in less than a minute with a goal by senior attacker Matt Ward who somehow was able to roll the ball with the top of his stick into the goal after falling down hard to the turf with 13:18 remaining in the first. Ward finished the day with three goals (one of four Cavaliers to end up with the hat trick) to give the captain 109 for his career to pass Tom Duquette for 6th most goals in Virginia history.

Joe Yevoli is another prominent name in the Virginia history books. After leaving the Cavaliers amid controversy last season, he seemed determined this afternoon to give his new team, Syracuse, a great chance to win. Yevoli scored his first of three goals with 10:07 left in the first quarter to give Syracuse the lead back at 2-1. Sophomore Ben Rubeour answered with a goal to tie it back up after a great assist from Ward. Rubeour was playing for the first time since injuring his ankle against #19 Denver. The attacker looked no worse for wear as he finished the game with an impressive 3 goals and 2 assists.

Virginia kept the run going when midfielder Drew Thompson picked up a ground ball and ran the length of the field to score a dramatic, unassisted goal with 6:38 left in the first quarter that gave Virginia it's first lead of the game.

After that goal, Syracuse began to find a rhythm. The Orange went on a 5-1 run over a four minute span where face-off victories resulted in fast-break opportunities and the Cavaliers were rattled. Virginia's goalie Kip Turner had a first quarter to forget, registering only 1 save on 11 shot attempts. Yevoli found a seam with 2:13 left in the first quarter and scored to give Syracuse its biggest lead of the game at 7-4.

Before the quarter ended, midfielder Kyle Dixon took the ball with 11.6 seconds to go in the first quarter and hit a huge goal that got the Virginia crowd back on their feet and revived hope for a comeback.

"That goal really settled everyone down," Dixon said.

The second quarter may go down as one of the best quarters in Virginia lacrosse history. Virginia outscored Syracuse 8-1, constantly winning big face-offs which prevented the Orange from ever getting the ball to their quick strike offense. In fact, the Orange only got 3 shots on goal the entire quarter. Ben Rubeor's goal with 10:00 to go in the first half gave the Cavaliers the lead for good at 8-7 after a quick pass by junior Foster Gilbert.

Hardy picked up a goal late in the 2nd quarter breaking a drought of 12:19 for the Orange to cut the score to 10-8, but the Cavaliers reeled off three more goals to take a 13-8 lead at the half.

"We were able to keep the ball on our side for almost the entire second quarter," Ward said. "It really helped us keep them out of their transition game and [help us] take the lead."

A rough first half for Virginia goalie Kip Turner in which he only registered 2 saves on 15 shots led to Virginia coach Dom Starsia's decision to put Michael "Bud" Petit in the cage for the second half. The third quarter started however, just the way Virginia feared. Midfielder Patrick Perritt blew by his defender and used his quickness to pick up a quick goal at 13:44 for Syracuse. Bucktooth nailed an extra-man goal less than a minute later to close the gap to 13-10.

The Cavaliers, as they had done all day, responded. Senior attacker Matt Potskay and Ben Rubeor both picked up goals to turn the tide. Dixon scored his second critical goal of the game on an extra-man opportunity with 8:05 left in the third quarter to give Virginia a 16-10 lead.

Despite the margin, Syracuse was down but far from out. The Orange picked up three unanswered goals, the last by Mike Leveille to cut the deficit to just three with 11:09 to go in the game. Leveille finished the day with three goals and two assists

Virginia's Thompson and Syracuse's Hardy exchanged goals to make the score 17-14 but time was quickly running out for the Orange. Virginia defender Ricky Smith picked up a ground ball and charged towards the net to hit a critical goal with the longstick to push the lead to 18-14 with only 5:05 to go, essentialy icing the game. It was only Smith's second goal in his career, seemingly taking the game into his own hands. It seems fitting that Smith was allowed to pick up the score, after a shaky start he was able to contain Syracuse's Yevoli.

"In the first quarter, emotions are flying and you're fired up", Smith said. "I think we played well enough and am confident in our team -- I'd take our six-on-six [defense] anytime."

A couple of open net goals for Virginia's Jared Little and J.J. Morrissey pushed the lead up to 20-14 before Syracuse's Leveille responded with a last minute goal to make the final score 20-15.

The Cavaliers are now 5-0 on the year, and have proven that their offense is a force to be reckoned with. Virginia had not done great with extra man opportunities this year but were 4-5 today. It was not a flawless game however, Virginia knows it must continue to work on its transition defense for it cannot always rely on its offense to outscore the nation's top teams.

"We can't give up 15 goals every game," Ward said.

Virginia must also wonder if Kip Turner will remain the starting goalie, Bud Petit came into the cage and performed well under duress. Surely a similar performance will be needed when the Cavaliers play their next game on Sunday, March 12 on the road against #10 Princeton.

For Syracuse, the offensive prowess of Joe Yevoli and Mike Leveille were wasted by a porous defense. Freshman goalkeeper Peter Coluccini played a pretty good game, but when your team is facing twice as many shots as the opposition it is hard to win. Coluccini was benched like Turner in the second half, leading Jake Myers to get some minutes. Myers registered six saves, but allowed 7 goals. No matter who was at goal the key stats in this game were shots on goal (57-32 UVA )and face-offs (23-16 UVA). Syracuse's inability to win either category cost them dearly. Next up for the Orange are the (1-1) Georgetown Hoyas.

Time will tell what this game will mean for both teams. For now the Virginia Cavaliers are trying to stay focused. "There are no big wins and there are no big games", Rubeour said. "The only game that matters now is Princeton."

Post A Comment To This Story >

Thats my wahoos.
    by (#123573) on 3/04/06 @11:30PM
Virginia all the way this year. Can beat anyone in the league at any given time. and matt ward tewarrthon winner.
 
Reply to this

   
GO CAVALIERS
    by (#95883) on 3/05/06 @9:19PM
Chyeah Boy!
~JZ~
 
Reply to this

   
tewaaraton you idiot-
    by (#72115) on 3/06/06 @6:14PM
depending on the season Umass has i think sean morris could have a shot at the tewaarton, and danowski, i think the winner of the tewaarton is usually on the champions team, im not too sure tho, but if UVA dosnt win it (which i dont think they will) then ward will not win the tewaarton.
 
Reply to this

      
Yea
    by (#101677) on 3/06/06 @10:16PM
Yea your right about the tawaarton winner usally being on the championship team except for Doug Shannahan the first year they had it.
 
Reply to this

      
Yea
    by (#101677) on 3/06/06 @10:17PM
Yea your right about the tawaarton winner usally being on the championship team except for Doug Shannahan the first year they had it.
 
Reply to this

      
(no subject)
    by (#94711) on 3/09/06 @12:35AM
Morris is a great player and he deserves All-America, but if you don't think Matt Ward is good enough to win without bringing home a championship then I dont see how Morris can.

It isn't a rule or anything, but the winner usually has to have a strong showing in the tournament. If you look at last year, though, a lot of people wanted Brodie Merrill to win, and it wouldn't have been undeserved. It is just hard to justify taking the player of the year award away from any guy who can carry a team to the championship, much less someone who had a year like Harrison did. So based on that, the players I can see winning the award are:
From UVa: Ward, Dixon
From Duke: Danowski, Zash
From Maryland: Walters, Xander Ritz, McGlone
From Navy: Dingman, Steve Looney, Birsner, Russell

Beyond that there are only a handful of guys who have a legitimate chance, but thats my final four and there are so many talented guys in that group it'll be hard to crack.
 
Reply to this

         
i know they lossed a lot of seniors
    by (#103345) on 3/09/06 @7:03PM
but why does everyone still throw jhu out of the championship spotlight? just because they played like crap against princeton? they've got tom duerr coming in, and petro's an awesome coach. plus stranger things have happened. if they did win it though it would probably be huntley or schwartzman
 
Reply to this

            
(no subject)
    by (#94711) on 3/09/06 @7:40PM
I expect to The Hop to get better as the year goes on, but as of right now I see those four teams as the best in the country. That being said, however, JHu is probably the last team any of the top four seeds would want to see in the quarterfinals. If they do win it, I think those two guys would be a good pick for the tewaaraton, along with Peyser, Rabil, and Byrne.
 
Reply to this

   
uva
    by (#125413) on 3/08/06 @7:35PM
great offense but defense needs improvement
 
Reply to this

(no subject)
    by (#116960) on 3/07/06 @2:44PM
dude cuse put up a good game there asum missing one of there hardest shooters due to the abesnce of steve brooks he hurt his knee im not saying they would of had a shot then but i think if they can stay healthy and put up the o they have a shot at the national championship easily that got a lot of offense but there defense needs to be better
 
Reply to this

(no subject)
    by (#116960) on 3/07/06 @2:45PM
dude cuse put up a good game there also missing one of there hardest shooters due to the abesnce of steve brooks he hurt his knee im not saying they would of had a shot then but i think if they can stay healthy and put up the o they have a shot at the national championship easily that got a lot of offense but there defense needs to be better
 
Reply to this

   
(no subject)
    by (#3572) on 3/07/06 @3:43PM
r u refering to urself in the third person steve? come on now...pat perritt is god
 
Reply to this

(no subject)
    by (#116960) on 3/07/06 @4:34PM
no this is a friend of his but if perrit is god why would hardy start first line over then perrit ya perrit is good but answer me that one
 
Reply to this

   
(no subject)
    by (#3572) on 3/07/06 @7:25PM
idk, i would guess because he is better? ive never seen hardy play, hes very tall tho, that could be the deciding factor
 
Reply to this