There were signs of the running and gunning right from the beginning. A furious battle between the hashes greeted the opening whistle and Hofstra came up good on the scrum. Ramar Clash wasted no time getting Hofstra on the board. He got the ball at the top of the box, backed up about 10 yards and drove straight ahead at full steam (and he's got a lot of steam). He bounced to his right and drove hard towards the pipe to stick a perfectly placed bouncer to the upper left that Tillman didn't have a prayer on.
Shanahan won the face again and Paul Defendi stepped up into the slot for a rocket of a right handed blast that bounced squarely off the left pipe. Tillman then met (and stuffed) a behind the back attempt by Keith Mekeel on the garbage pickup after the pipe rebound. But Tillman didn't stuff him clean, so Steve McTigue made it 2-0 Hofstra after some more garbage attempts.
Shananhan won another face (it wouldn't last) and settled in Hofstra's end. Rotelli got nabbed for a slash and on the following EMO, Tillman blanked a Dooley to Kessler crease feed that Kessler normally buries (he's got something like a 68% conversion rate), but Shanahan got the ball on the top left after Clash pushed it up to him. Shanahan cocked his stick back almost to his waist and put it in the same spot Clash had just a minute earlier -- a bouncer to the upper left from a few yards inside the restraining line for a 3-0 lead that was making the pro-Hofstra crowd go nuts.
Jenkins pulled it out on the face and moved it behind the Gill, but Hofstra's Nicky Polanco (one of several times this afternoon) picked Gill with a quick elbow-to-the-sky dink across Gill's chest, but Hofstra wasted the turnover when the clearing pass sailed along the sideline.
But UVA's been known to produce some offense. Jamison Mullen made it 3-1 when he grabbed a thread to the crease from ex-goalie Derek Kenney up top, turned and ripped it. Jenkins took the next face right down the middle and banged one in on the run a mere 4 seconds later. Jenkins won it again and got it to Gill. Gill got picked, but Hofstra couldn't gather the loose ball cleanly, so Jamison Mullen goosed it Gill on the endline, who then moved it over to Rotelli on the lefty wing amid the confusion. But Rotelli wound up righty (he didn't have that much of an angle to begin with) and a big hop, skip, and jump later, burned it high by Alaimo without anyone contesting him.
UVA took their first lead at 4-3 when Hanley Holcomb legged it up the sideline after shadowing Hananel near the top of the box (and subjecting him to a Jedi mind check) -- Shannon took it from Holcomb on the right wing with the stick in his left hand, face-dodged underneath, brought the stick back to the middle of the field and ripped it low after he got a step.
Hofstra remained dormant for little while even though UVA was giving the Pride some room up top to take their shots (especially when it got rotated to the backside fast enough), but Tillman was on his game and snared anything he could see coming ahead of time (he was reacting really well to low shots in particular). The 1st ended 4-3 UVA.
Polanco again picked Gill, this time behind the neck, after Jenkins bested Shanahan on the face. Hofstra tried exploiting the shorty off to Tillman's left, but held on too long through the quick double, which led to a loose ball and 2 garbage attempts -- one Tillman stoned in sick fashion, the other, after another rebound, McTigue bounced in (his 2nd garbage goal of the day) for a 4-4 tie 3:00 minutes in.
All this time, Gill was more than content to hang out behind and let others challenge. He often didn't actively attempt to get control, or even really take his man when he did have it, but that changed for a brief period in the 2nd. It became 5-4 UVA when after some movement around the horn, Hofstra fell asleep and sloughed a little too much in the middle for someone with a shot the likes of Hanley Holcomb's to have it up top uncontested. Holcomb stepped up and blasted it by Alaimo after Glading's routine pass from the wing. Hofstra didn't learn from the experience -- the duo pulled off the same stunt in nearly the same circumstance just 30 seconds later for a 6-4 UVA lead.
Hofstra then tried to generate some offense after finally getting another possession (Jenkins was now working some mojo on the faceoffs -- he was 23 and 10 on the day), but great position from UVA's longsticks thwarted any hopes they had of doing it one on one.
UVA took off on a break when Koontz picked a feed from behind intended for the top slot. It resulted in a 7-4 lead when Gill converted a pass down to the corner from Justin Mullen on the standard break formation -- it was all the work of Koontz's run up the middle and feed to his left for the point man. One more for the 'Hoos after Hanley Holcomb, on the lefty wing goal line extended, dipped in to the pipe after faking like he was going to go across the middle lefty. He finished lefty and low from 2 yards out (and looked like a carbon copy of a Gait move).
Shanahan managed to win the next face though, but was caught from behind as he was winding up for a blast. Hofstra closed the gap to 8-5 when Dooley got sneaky on some off-ball movement and caught a great look across Tillman's nose from Kessler just a couple feet behind the net on the other side of the goal. Kessler then was on the finishing end -- he caught it on the paint from McTigue right after the face, on normal break rotation, and buried it. Hofstra tested UVA's longsticks after a timeout with under a minute to go, but the Cavs slid early, forcing Hofstra to at least double back or move it along the outside. The half, a heck of a barn burner half, ended with UVA up 8-6 and what looked to be a whole lot more scoring to come.
Shanahan controlled the opening second half face, but UVA's Holcomb cleaned up on an errant clearing pass. Alaimo was solid though, and cleaned up on a bouncer from outside. UVA was now shutting off the shortsticks on the clears and daring a longstick to take it over. Polanco obliged, although he did run into some trouble, and he eventually got it to Kessler. Just like that they were out of the gates -- Clash gathered it behind and pumped a nice feed to Dooley on the crease to cut the lead to one. Jenkins won another face, and with Gill pulling his best invisibility act, Shure gave it his best shot on the pipe to Alaimo's left. He got a step and rolled back, but his shot was to the outside of the net. But UVA was still moving the ball quickly on the outside and causing Hofstra fits with their slides. Jamison Mullen, in the righty shooter's slot, gobbled up a bounced (not on purpose) feed from Gill behind and blasted it top right in a shot that must have nicked both pipes.
Rotelli from Gill, who was feeding off of his back foot deep behind the goal, 10 yards out dead center for 10-7 lead. Gill was now acting like he was a 1st team all-american, taking charge of the offense and dictating the tempo. Ex-goalie Kenney did some damage again when he burned in from the left wing on a Jamison Mullen feed and stuck it with a flag down (Hofstra's Sullivan got nailed with a cross check). 11-7 UVA.
Shanahan won the short-handed face and worked it to Kessler, who played keep away until he was forced to confront a double team. Kessler rolled back on one defender and split the other to squirm through to the crease. His shot went wide, but he drew an on-the-head. Hofstra stalled until they had the extra man, but UVA rotated exceedingly quick along the outside and presented Hananel and Shanahan with no opportunities to rip it. They took their turn on D right after -- Hofstra killed off a minute slash call against Polanco.
Time was winding down in the third and Hofstra realized it was might be do or die time the way it going. Clash iso'd a handful of times from up top when a short stick was on him, with generally good results -- his old-fashioned quick snap feeds made UVA a little more hesitant to slide early on him, and he alternately found Dooley on the pipe through traffic (Dooley shot wide past a splitting Tillman) or got great shots (but that didn't hit the net). Virginia was up 11-7 to end the 4th.
Jenkins controlled again, and when Rotelli got his hands on it, he ripped one behind the back righty for a 12-7 lead after streaking down the middle. UVA went on the man-up for a minute and moved the ball so quickly, and skipped passes at the right time, that they were always finding someone open on the backside. But they couldn't manage to actually score.
Kessler countered with his own behind the back when Dooley was moving right to left behind the goal and spotted Kessler going the opposite way across the mouth of the goal -- Dooley hit him righty, and Kessler, who had almost outrun his angle, did the smart thing and finished righty behind his back to the bottom left corner.
It got even closer (12-9) when Shanahan, off the face, stutter stepped to his right and then split dodged to his left to give himself room enough to let it go. He did, and it caught Tilman somewhere but had enough force to make to it just below the pipe. And Shanahan did it lefty while falling down to his knees.
Holcomb came right back down the pipe for UVA on a clear that he looked to be jogging on -- when Hofstra decided the threat was off, Holcomb pumped it into 5th gear and split to his left for a running rip that beat Alaimo high. Holcomb nailed another (yes, it was lefty) for a 14-9 lead when a Sullivan penalty put UVA up for a minute. He took the point at the top of a 2-3-1 man-up, stepped into his shot after he got the ball on the rotaion, and blinded by Alaimo high. But Shanahan took matters into his own hands again when he won the next face and drove hard to the left. He ripped a jumping left hander past Tillman to the upper right (Tillman's a lefty).
The Pride got it to 14-11 when Dooley was wheeling and dealing off the pipe to Tillman's right and eeked out a step on Koontz to get position underneath. He launched himself to the near pipe and beat Tillman low. The flag that had been thrown on Koontz got picked up. Hofstra then controlled the face and backed up a Hananel rip that was high and outside. Timeout Hofstra with just over 5:00 to play.
A preminition of sorts happened when Kessler got his man hung up in front of the goal by playing tight to the crease behind (sort of a lost art). McTigue, on the right wing, whipped it to him fast enough so that Kessler couldn't be covered without some ring around the rosie, and Kessler snuck around for Hofstra's 12th of the day and just 4:30 to go.
The rally wasn't over (as I'm sure you've figured out by now) -- it became 14-13 when Hananel drove X with power and rolled back on Billy Glading to stick it lefty low as he came around. Jenkins won the next face, a huge one, but Gill got picked again by Polanco with 2:00 minutes to go.
Hofstra got it to tie for the first time since it was 3-3 with just 1:21 remaining. Longstick Lance Yeagle picked off an overthrown clearing pass near the box, and although Tillman was 15 yards out of the goal (but might have been able to beat a lob), Yeagle moved it to the middle where Kessler was breaking straight for the goal. Kessler had to jump to catch it, but he beat Tillman low to the five hole just as Tillman got back in the net and was trying to regain his footing.
In the most important face of the game, Defendi walked up to the circle for Hofstra because Shanahan was too tired. Hofstra called timeout rather than chance it. It must have helped, because Shanahan was able to rake it back, and after 20 seconds of vicious ground ball fighting, Polanco gathered on the defensive wing and called a time-out. Hofstra ate up the clock until there was :20 to go, putting their hopes in Hananel to take his short stick from up top. Hananel drove left to right from the top of the box, but his pass across the grain hit someone's foot and dribbled out of bounds. With :16 to go, UVA put together a flurry of shots that Alaimo stoned, but just after time expired a rebound found its way to Shure on the pipe. And I mean about a tenth of a second after the whistle.
Shanahan won the opening overtime face, but Tillman swallowed a weak shot from the left wing that wasn't exactly a realistic scoring opportunity. Starsia called a time-out as soon UVA got it over the midfield even though Brett Hughes managed to move it up the wing against a Hofstra ride that was sliding upfield, and Hofstra was short a man on the defensive end (guys, confusion benefits an offense more than a defense -- why are TO's always called no matter the situation?)
Whatever play was drawn up apparently got scrapped when Polanco raped Rotelli over the head as he drove across the middle. Polanco bolted the other way on a break. Hofstra could have pushed it, but the risk seemed a little too high, so they wisely pulled back and moved around the outside. After they pulled some normal ball rotation counter clockwise across the top, UVA got caught in a bad situation. Kessler was again playing tight to the crease behind and he was Brett Hughes' responsibility after Koontz had to slide to the wing. Hofstra's man on the wing (McTigue? -- I didn't catch it) relayed it to Kessler immediately, and Hughes, who was rotating over from the front of the crease, got there a couple of steps too late -- Kessler now had the ball at X and Hughes was stuck in front of Tillman.
For the first 5 seconds, both Kessler and Hughes stood motionless, each waiting for the other to play their hand. Then the freshmen, Hughes and Tillman, played into Kessler's hands. With everyone else on Hofstra's offense essentially standing still (and away from the goal so as not to give a free double), Tillman left the mouth of the goal and feigned like he would chase Kessler from the right pipe. Hughes made the fatal mistake of following Tillman's lead and shifting to the left pipe. A choice between coming around on a defenseman with a goalie in the goal, and coming around on a goalie with a defenseman in the goal, is not a choice at all. Kessler pretended to be caught for a couple of seconds and then bolted around on Tillman's corner to sink it low for the win.
Virginia vs. Hofstra