CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—Top-ranked Virginia used a dominating second-half performance to break open a tight contest and defeat No. 4 Cornell 14-10 this afternoon before 4547 fans at Klöckner Stadium. The match-up is the first regular season game between the two teams since 1971. With the win the Cavaliers improve to 7-0 this season, while Cornell is now 2-1.
“I was more impressed with us today than I was on Friday up at the (Carrier) Dome,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “I thought that this was a gut check win for us. This was a good team that’s had a week to prepare for this. I felt like we were a little tired and I give our kids a lot of credit for working hard and taking control of this game in the second half.”
With Cornell concentrating on stopping the Cavalier attack, it fell to the midfielders to provide the offense.
“Our middies needed to step up,” said Starsia. “A lot of teams don’t slide to our middies. Cornell was trying to funnel guys in one direction to one hand or the other and trying to get away with not sliding to us and we needed to hit some of those shots and we did. That gives us much better balance offensively and makes us more dangerous.”
Starting midfielders Shamel Bratton and Steve Giannone led the way for UVa with three goals apiece. Fellow midfielder Brian Carroll scored twice and assisted on three other goals. Overall the Virginia midfield group scored 10 of the team’s 14 goals.
Giannone scored off the opening faceoff to give Virginia the lead 11 seconds in. Carroll scored his first goal of the day a short time later to the delight of the large crowd taking in the unseasonably warm weather.
Attackman Ryan Hurley answered with Cornell’s first goal of the game 35 seconds after Carroll as the Big Red outscored UVa 3-1 and force the first of five ties in the game.
Bratton scored with 8.4 seconds left in the first quarter, but Hurley scored to open the second quarter scoring and tie the score at four.
The back-and-forth scoring continued for the next eight minutes as Virginia would score only to see Cornell score an equalizer.
Cornell midfielder Rocco Romero scored his only goal of the game with five minutes and 13 seconds before halftime to tie the score at six apiece, the fourth tie of the first half.
Chris Finn scored four minutes later to give the Big Red a 7-6 lead at the break. The Cornell lead marked the first time all season the Cavaliers trailed at any point in a game.
The lead was short lived as Giannone tied the score for the final time in the opening minute of the third quarter as the Cavaliers scored the next three goals to take the lead for good.
Rob Pannell scored with 1:41 left in the third quarter to bring Cornell to within one at 9-8, but Virginia rattled off the next five goals over the next seven and a half minutes. During the scoring spree the Cavaliers scored on five of eight shots. George Huguely scored his first goal in six games with 3.8 seconds remaining in the third quarter to extend the lead to 10-8.
The Cavalier attack scored the next three with Garrett Billings, Steele Stanwick and Gavin Gill finding the back of the net. Bratton’s goal with 7:38 to play pushed Virginia’s lead to 14-8. Cornell scored the game’s final two goals to reach double figures for the second time in three games.
Longstick midfielder Mike Timms keyed a tremendous effort by the Virginia defense. He held midfielder Max Seibald to only one goal and that came with just over two minutes to play. The Cavalier ride forced Cornell to fail six of 10 clearing opportunities in the third quarter as the Big Red committed nine turnovers in the quarter.
Goalie Adam Ghitelman made 10 saves, his fourth double-digit performance of the season.
Chad Gaudet won 11 of 13 faceoffs in the second half, including all seven in the final quarter, to allow Virginia to seize control and build its lead.
Virginia returns to action at home at Klöckner Stadium on Tuesday night against Vermont, coached by former UVa All-American defenseman Ryan Curtis. The game is scheduled to start at 7 pm.
Virginia vs. Cornell