The second game for the May 19th quarterfinals and the final game of the series did not disappoint. The Virginia Cavaliers weathered a storm by the Cornell Big Red which tied the game with 5:56 to go in regulation at 10-10. With 3:59 left freshman Joe Yevoli drove from X to feed freshman John Christmas in front for a tap in and winning goal, 11-10. It was the only goal on the day that senior all American Conor Gill didn't have a hand in for Virginia. Gill proved that he's the number one pure feeder in the game of college lacrosse today dishing out an NCAA Tournament record nine assists to eclipse the eight assist record most recently accomplished by Casey Powell. He also threw in the first goal of the day for a ten point performance. Virginia's one goal victory also marked the first time in NCAA history that all four contests were settled by one goal. However, it certainly isn't the first time Virginia, Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, or Princeton have ever gone to the final four. Syracuse will face Virginia while Princeton will battle Hopkins for the right to play for the championship. Both match ups feature similar styled teams and look to keep things exciting for semis.
Cornell's Ryan McClay had the daunting task of covering Conor Gill and the results were disastrous. Hind sight is 20/20, but McClay struggled from the start with Gill and perhaps should have been taken off him. After scoring the first goal of the game himself, McClay fell behind the net when Gill Drove from X. Gill came around and scored before the slides came. This may have been where McClay twisted his ankle because with 2:29 left in the first quarter McClay was clearly limping. The athletic defenseman is Cornell's top guy, but Gill described his style of game as the kind of d-man that doesn't throw a lot of checks. Gill was complimentary saying that McClay is very good at keeping good position, but just doesn't throw a lot of checks. For Gill that's a dream come true. He can pick apart the defense from behind the goal with insane feeds that today were always on the money without worrying about getting whacked every second. To add insult to injury, McClay had to totally focus on his footwork to protect his tender ankle. Defensively, Cornell did a good job of clogging up the middle and denying inside shots. The expense was leaving guys with outside shots open and although Big Red goalie Justin Cynar played stellar as advertised early, he failed to make a save in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. To Cynar's credit, the toughest shots for a goalie to face are feeds from behind because of the time it takes to do a 180 and locate the shooter. He had to deal with that all day.
Gill was the star today, but catch a rising star in freshman attack Joe Yevoli. With four goals and the game winning assist Yevoli displayed a complete game as an attackman. He dodges well, shoots extremely well, and has good size. He shot 50% putting in four of eight attempts and collected three ground balls. Add to the mix the speedy John Christmas and you've got a diverse and potent attack that rivals the Syracuse attack. Virginia middie Nick Russo also had a huge day. He plays a defensive role, but he came up huge clearing the ball twice bull dodging riding attackman. It was like watching a running back come out of the back field who instead of taking the hit delivered the blow himself much to the delight of fans.
Cornell scored only seven seconds into the game when Ryan McClay was fed by Addison Sollog in the confusion directly after a face off, 1-0. Next, Virginia was working a diamond with two on the crease. Gill popped off the crease and roll dodged to his left at X getting McClay to loose his footing. 12:03 into the game he wrapped around and scored left handed on a low shot past Cynar, 1-1. Cornell was unable to beat their collective defenders one on one early so they worked hard to hit cutters on the crease. Virginia's offense came out strong, but Cynar made five spectacular saves in the first quarter. With 6:28 left in the first Cornell Head Coach Jeff Tambroni called time out to make adjustments for his offense. They managed to work the ball into Justin Redd in dangerous position, but Virginia goalie Tillman Johnson got a leg on it. Cynar answered with a bigger save on the other end. Yevoli fed Christmas from behind and Cynar reacted with brilliant speed. Cynar had Christmas' number today until the final goal. Christmas turned the corner from X three times on the day to his left and Cynar blocked his low bounce shot every time. Cynar may have seen that move once or twice on tape. Later, after McClay was noticeably limping, Gill decided to test it. Gill drove from X hard up field toward the side line. When he approached the right handed wing position he cut back hard and McClay's ankle buckled leaving him sprawled out on the ground. Gill came to the goal just above goal line extended and hit Yevoli across the crease for the lefty dunk shot at 1:37 to go in the first, 2-1. McClay was a big impact player in the first with a goal for his team and two falls that led to Virginia goals.
Virginia cashed in on it's only man advantage of the day at 12:36 of the second quarter. Virginia long stick Trey Whitty picked midfielder Frank Sands clean at the midfield and then Sands got called when he held Whitty. Virginia started in a 3-3 and sent Gill from the crease to X. When Gill got the ball he was standing to his right of the goal and hit a crashing Yevoli coming off the lefty wing back side for a seven yard score that Cynar didn't have a chance on, 3-1. Cornell answered less than forty seconds later when Galen Beers drove from the top to the goalie's right. He drove right handed and managed to get inside position on long pole Andrew Angoliati. He beat Johnson shoulder high along the right pipe, 3-2. Later, Virginia's Gill had McClay strip him of the ball and start the clear. However, it failed and when Christmas was on the doorstep in transition he went to take a shot. Close defenseman Tim DeBlois made the check of the game on a full extension check using the butt end of his stick to knock the ball away from Christmas. With 10:11 to go in the half Cynar saved a deflected shot and sent Cornell on the attack. The fast break showcased five crisp passes before Sean Greenhalgh dunked in the left handed shot to tie the game 3-3. Virginia took the lead on a loose ball behind the cage. In the scramble for the ball Gill came up with it and fed open AJ Shannon with everybody out of position. Shannon took a ten yard bounce shot along right pipe, 4-3. Cynar came back huge moments later on a Gill shot labeled upper left. Cynar, a lefty had to be sharp to stop that bullet. Cornell got their first man advantage with 3:56 to go in the half. On a nicely constructed play to the crease Scott Lee got the shot he wanted, but dinged the crossbar. Virginia then tallied two quick goals within 14 seconds to end the half. Gill hooked up with Yevoli on both scores to make it 6-3. Cornell allowed Yevoli to stand open in dangerous spots and Cynar couldn't stop him.
Cornell started the second half either playing a zone or sloughing in way to much. They continued to allow Gill to feed players who were too close for comfort. The Cavaliers simply moved the ball around vigorously until guys were open and Gill hit them. First he hit Billy Glading and then Chris Rotelli to make it 8-3. Cornell called a time out and from that point on they tightened up the defense. They would only allow Virginia three more goals in the last 26:55 of play. The teams went end to end a bit with key saves by both goalies. With 6:29 left in the third quarter the tide turned for Cornell. Virginia took an illegal body check for a one minute personal to spark a three goal explosion by Cornell. Cornell cashed in on a feed from Justin redd to Scott Lee. Redd was standing top center when he dumped to Lee high on the crease for a right handed turn around shot low, 8-4. At 5:05 Redd blew past his defender and hit Ian Rosenberger standing parallel to Redd 12 yards from the goal. Rosenberger buried right handed crank, 8-5. Six seconds later McClay scored off the face off with a lefty shot off the low left pipe, 8-6. Virginia took another penalty with 49 seconds to go in the third, but Virginia got a blocked shot by David Burman and a nice save by Johnson.
Cornell started the scoring early in the fourth. At the 14:10 mark JP Shalk right hand swept by Brendan Mohler and scored to pull within one, 8-7. Virginia stopped the bleeding and regained their composure. At 12:28 they scored on another Gill feed, this time to Rotelli. McClay and DeBlois had Gill doubled behind, but Gill came out of it to his left and hit Rotelli standing ten yards for a blast, 9-7. Billy fort answered for Cornell to show they weren't done. Fort inverted and came from X to his right. he drove up field and turned back to his left for the quick shot that beat Johnson, 9-8. At 10:31 Johnson deflected a feed from behind with his shaft. The ball bounced around and Fort snagged it and buried it for a tie game, 9-9. Johnson had to stay tough and did so making two more saves with his team on the ropes. With 6:37 to go Gill, working from behind, hit Rotelli standing in the low right handed crank spot. Rotelli ripped the shot overhand that stayed high and beat Cynar who had guessed low. Of all the goals today, that would be the first one Cynar would want back. Cornell answered with the exact same play when Andrew Collins hit Sean Greenhalgh, but Greenhalgh bounced it past Johnson, 10-10. Cornell had the next possession and with a loose ball in front a Cornell player tried to bat the ball in. He missed wildly sending the ball out of bounds away from the goal. The ref did not deem it a scoring attempt so despite Cornell being closest Virginia was awarded the ball. it would be the nail in the coffin. Virginia cleared and worked to Yevoli behind. Yevoli drove 15 yards hard to X before cutting back to turn the corner left handed. As he came around he hit Christmas crashing the crease left handed. Christmas was able to get a bounce shot off without stepping in the crease for the game winner, 11-10. Cornell had a couple more chances, but couldn't get anything going. They also lost possession late in the game on a pass through the crease that appeared to change direction off a Virginia stick, but was none the less called Virginia's ball.
|Billy Fort||(2, 1)|
|Ryan Mcclay||(2, 0)|
|Sean Greenhalgh||(2, 0)|
|Jp Schalk||(1, 1)|
|Addison Sollog||(0, 1)|
|Justin Redd||(0, 1)|
|Andrew Collins||(0, 1)|
|Ian Rosenberger||(1, 0)|
|Scott Lee||(1, 0)|
|Galen Beers||(1, 0)|
|Justin Cynar||10 (0.476)|