This weekend the Cavaliers were the team who started out the scoring and they would able to finish consistently throughout the day, not allowing last year’s National Champs to practically ever get the edge. UVA’s senior middie Brendan Mohler was the first to net one after over four minutes of play. Both offenses were having some problems with their passing and shooting accuracy due to the misty rain soaking their pockets, but Princeton’s senior middie Dan Clark managed to put their first goal away after receiving a junior middie Matt Trevenen feed. Mohler would again have a hand in the scoring as he fed freshman attackman Joe Yevoli for UVA’s second goal of the game. Tiger keeper junior Julian Gould showed he was ready for a close game as he came up big early for Princeton helping get the ball down on offense. As a neck and neck game goes, the Tigers would score next when senior attackman B.J. Prager bounced one off the wet surface, and to add insult to injury Virginia would get flagged for a personal foul which meant one minute of man-up play for Princeton. Virginia’s sophomore net minder Tillman Johnson staved off the Tiger attack for a time with some brilliant saves including an impressive kick save. But junior middie Josh White finally capitalized for the Tigers when fellow junior middie Owen Daly gave him a feed which he ripped for Princeton’s third goal, and what would be their only lead of the day. The first quarter ran out with Princeton gaining a penalty of their own which carried over into the next period.
However, UVA would not convert the Tiger penalty into a goal, and instead would get a minute tripping penalty themselves which Princeton would be unable to convert on either. After the barrage of flags cleared, Virginia’s senior attackman Conner Gill took a feed from freshman attackman John Christmas for his first goal of the day and the end of any Tiger lead for the remainder of the day. About two minutes later at 10:02, Yevoli put away his second goal of the day off junior middie A.J. Shannon’s feed. Princeton ended a lull in scoring that lasted about 3 ½ minutes as junior attackman Sean Hartofolis took a sophomore Ryan Boyle feed and stuck it. Virginia’s Shannon joined the action again and scored unassisted preventing a chance for the Tigers to get back on top. Although UVA’s offense was looking strong and even more so impressive with their tough riding, the Cavalier defense certainly played a big part in keeping the Tigers off the score board. Princeton was slowing it down as they kept it with the offense for what turned out to be about a 5 minute long stint. However, the defense led by senior close-defenseman Mark Koontz and sophomore “d”-man Brett Hughes, was able to pressure the Tiger offense hard preventing them from getting any good opportunities to score. In fact as Koontz landed himself in the penalty box late in the quarter, it may have seemed like the pressure was too hard, but it turned out to be effective. Despite the UVA penalty, they came away with the next two scores creating a small cushion of a lead, and it would be one they would successfully strive to maintain. Junior middie Chris Rotelli struck first as he took a pinpoint feed from Christmas and slung it to the upper left corner in mid-dive. Perhaps inspired, J. Christmas joined up with Gill again, this time taking the feed and ripping it at close range a minute later. Princeton’s answer to the three goal deficit was a Daly-fed goal by Hartofolis as they took advantage of some UVA box confusion. Yet, the three goal lead was repossessed with 17 seconds left when Mohler sliced through the crease traffic and ripped a feed from Gill into the net.
The rain started letting up and play began looking sharper by the end of the first half. The second half would see UVA get outscored 6-5, but I guess that is why having a three goal lead is nice. The beginning of Princeton’s comeback attempt started when junior middie Brad Dumont found an open Daly who split-up his UVA defender and ripped it righty past Virginia’s Johnson. Princeton would back up this offensive score with some great defensive pressure, but Shannon dodged and spun his way through a mess of Tiger defenders to notch UVA’s ninth at 9:05 in the third. The next three goals would be orange and black, and junior defenseman Damien Davis started it out after clearing the ball from the midline down to the Virginia crease where he scored as he fell down. There’s nothing like a defenseman scoring to get a team going, and Dumont’s unassisted dagger past Johnson’s knees just added to the Princeton fire. Junior middie Josh White fed his teammate B.J. Prager who stalemated the game with a sick diving shot. With the game tied, Princeton faced a speed bump in their comeback path as they were penalized for an illegal body check. Virginia took advantage with another Christmas goal and another Gill assist with 3:03 left in the 3rd. After the ensuing face off Princeton’s Dumont waltzed right through the middle of the Virginia defense but couldn’t finish what seemed like a wide open shot. The Tigers would get a break as UVA received a one minute penalty for a personal foul. Virginia’s man-down was up to the challenge and a huge Tillman Johnson save led to a man-down clear. The next goal showed either Princeton tiring, or perhaps Christmas’s great feet, as he smoked his defenseman from behind and fed Joe Yevoli for his third goal of the day.
The fourth quarter started out with Virginia’s Koontz making a great play on a ball that was going out of bounds, as he flicked it to a breaking middie who ripped it wide and got crushed in the process. A Princeton called timeout wound up turning into a Princeton penalty, as it seemed that they didn’t have the right to call a timeout at that juncture. But some great Tiger defense was able to get the ball back in their offenses' hands who continued to be stymied by Johnson. Tiger Ryan Boyle seemed to be getting handled by his Virginia defenseman when he managed to sneakily inside roll and snap one in for Princeton’s tenth goal. It was still anybody’s game with Princeton within one, however the next two scores would be Virginia’s and it would be all they needed. Junior middie Billy Glading got on the stat sheet with his first of the day off a Shannon feed. Then Chris Rotelli simply burnt his man and stuck it over Gould’s shoulder for his second and Virginia’s last goal of the day. Dan Clark would imitate his opponent as he simply burnt his defender and "lazered" one high in the net for his second and unfortunately for the Tigers, Princeton’s last of the day as well. With five minutes left to play in the game, it hardly seemed that Princeton’s chances were over, however this was in fact the case due to some tough defense and excellent possessions by the UVA squad. A UVA offense eating away two minutes here, and some tough Virginia defensive plays there, mixed together with three Princeton penalties with under two minutes to play, and we have a team with a two goal lead hold on to win the game. Sound simple? Well, the Tigers certainly helped UVA’s cause towards the end in getting some “nail-in-the-coffin” penalties, but what are you going to do when J. Christmas has the ball and you can’t catch him—well, foul him I guess, but this isn’t basketball so it wasn’t quite as effective.
Virginia will next match up against Notre Dame on Tuesday March 12th, and Princeton will try to prevent Hofstra from getting their piece of last year’s champs on Saturday March 16th.
|John Christmas||(2, 2)|
|Conor Gill||(1, 3)|
|Aj Shannon||(2, 2)|
|Joe Yevoli||(3, 0)|
|Brenndan Mohler||(2, 1)|
|Chris Rotelli||(2, 0)|
|Billy Glading||(1, 0)|
|Tillman Johnson||13 (0.542)|