Jarrett Park started off the action for the Orangemen when, after grabbing the loose ball from the face, he pulled some butt ends over the heads of several Cav shortstick defenders but took his enthusiasm a little too far down the middle -- he ended up getting shoved to the turf and UVA headed the other way. On the Cavs' first possession there was a taste of how Desko was going to counter UVA's formidable attack line -- St George was on Yevoli, Glatzel on Gill, Bliss on Christmas.
Just like that, the Cavs went up 1-0 when AJ Shannon leaned in on shortstick Dave Puccia from the GLE to Pfeiffer's left and Puccia wasn't able to get a solid shove-off; Shannon got a step underneath, turned on the burners for a drive to just above the pipe, and brought it back into his left hand for a bouncer to the stick side. UVA won the next face and handed it off to Christmas relatively deep to the back left. Christmas took Sol Bliss on an arc of run above the left pipe that Christmas didn't deviate his path on. He used his turbo jets, and a little bit of a change-up misdirection, to leave Bliss a full step behind after which Christmas stuck it lefty before a whole onslaught of traffic coming his way met up with him. After the goal was already well past Pfeiffer, Dave Puccia got whistled for an illegal bodycheck in the ensuing mayhem on the crease. It was a dead ball foul so UVA immediately started with the ball again at midfield. It would cost Cuse, because with only 1:48 having passed in the first quarter, UVA went up 3-0 on the EMO conversion. Freshman Joe Yevoli was setup on the GLE to Pfeiffer's left and when the ball got rotated his way he nailed Jared Little cutting low through the heart of the man-down. Little buried it with a righty behind-the-back after a slight bobble.
Cuse then finally got a little action on offense but looked to be forcing the issue a little bit after such an extended drought without the ball. Powell took a pretty weak shot from top left corner that Tillman saw the entire way into his stick, and then Powell lofted a behind-the-back feed well above all the cutters starting to amass in the crease. But at 9:13 in the quarter a Tom Hardy to Josh Coffman connection, to Coffman alone on the crease, had Coffman pumping 5 times (and sending Tillman into convulsions) before Coffman ended Tillman's misery and cut the lead to 3-1. It was apparently UVA's turn for a dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalty; longstick Trey Whitty got tossed to the penalty box for a 1:00 minute Cuse EMO and automatic possession. Powell pushed it to 3-2 on the man-up when, from exactly the same spot on the top left that he shot before, he found the two inches of open space between Tillman's head and the left pipe and burned it in there.
The first quarter closed out with a series of up and down runs and some brief, although exciting, offensive sets. Springer tried a slow-developing iso on Ned Bowen, but Bowen had none of that with a solid, physical counter. John Christmas worked Bliss from a couple of different spots on the field, but Bliss always kept him from getting around the corner. On the next clear for Cuse Conor Gill was flagged for offsides and Springer pulled an NBA-worthy pump-fake/face-dodge but missed high as he came in on Tillman. Powell then nailed Tillman in the chest again from that exact same top left spot, and then Springer ripped another missile high that completely burned Tillman but hit the crossbar. A first quarter note: UVA close defenseman Brett Hughes was doing a really good position job on Powell (who was often hanging out in the crease and then popping out).
The second quarter started and UVA went to work immediately for a 4-2 lead. Chris Rotelli was setting up against Brett Walther on the GLE to Pfeiffer's left and pulled another duck under and burn for a lefty bouncer. UVA at this point was taking several iso's against Syracuse shorti's and Cuse appeared to be overly concerned about UVA's chances of succeeding with them -- the Orangemen were packed in really, really tight so as slide quickly, but they were giving up the draw and dump.
A slew of action for both teams would follow. Cuse closed to 4-3 when Spencer Wright took an outlet break up the middle and hit Springer on the point of the 4-3 break. Springer completed a nice look to Powell sneaking into the middle (as his defenseman turned his head to look up at Springer) and Powell dropped his stick to nail it just under the crossbar all alone. But then John Christmas bumped the lead back up to 2 -- he got matched up with a shorti at X after Gill, at the top of the box, drew some attention and rotated it behind. Christmas pulled a little shake and bake, split hard to his left, and burned around lefty and low. UVA won the next face and controlled for a while with Shannon, Christmas, and Yevoli all taking runs but unable to find the back of the net. Then a forced shot from Christmas coming across the top, a Cuse clear, a UVA pick and clear, a forced AJ Shannon shot, and then a Cuse clear which nearly avoided UVA coming back down their throats one on none. Something finally registered when Cuse's Steve Vallone, all alone in the crease, took a feed from Hardy at top of the box -- Hardy waited for about 2 seconds while deciding whether to pull the trigger down low to Vallone. He was even telegraphing the pass fully and UVA still allowed the gaping hole in the middle. Vallone just turned and bounced it by Tillman.
Then Gill would take it to the hoop himself for nearly the last goal on the day that UVA would score while in the lead (now 6-4); Gill bulled up on Glatzel off the left pipe from behind just as Glatzel was preparing for a butt-end wrap. Gill had little angle, but just as Glatzel was about to let the butt-end go, Gill rolled back to the outside and snuck it by Pfeiffer's right knee with a righty overhand. Glatzel got pissed at himself. Cuse again closed to within one as, when UVA looked to be in somewhat of a zone, Cuse bumped it around clockwise to Coffman at X, who then found Springer for a high, righty one-timer from about 7 yards out to Tillman's left.
The Orangemen would finally tie it up at 6-6 (with 0:55 left). After a Syracuse timeout, the exact same play went down -- Coffman to Springer from same spot -- but Springer was moving towards the right pipe and finished with a well placed righty behind-the-back that burned Tillman low and away. Some pushing and other hostilities would end the half -- Bliss was limping on a clear and Christmas shoved him from behind (for a :30 flag) as Bliss backhanded it upfield, and then St George had to be pulled back from a shoving/shouting match at midfield as the whistle was blown on Christmas' flag. Powell ran out the clock on Brett Hughes to end the half and keep possession.
Syracuse grabbed their first lead of the game on the EMO that followed to start the second half.
Spencer Wright collected a feed, from Brian Nee on the GLE to Tillman's right, and buried a quick redirect by Tillman. A couple of near misses for Syracuse's Mike Springer would prove unusually fortunate for UVA; Springer bombed one high from the top left of the box that nailed the pipe and had Cuse players signaling goal, and then he got one called back after collecting some garbage on the crease and dipping and dunking on the paint -- the refs called in the crease and Springer argued like crazy. The Cavs tied it up at 7 on Yevoli's ankle-breaking split from right to left on Sol Bliss at X. Bliss was caught flat-footed and Yevoli finished low around the left pipe without any slide. Bliss was noticeably more sluggish after banging up his leg and the end of the first half, and he would later be replaced by redshirt frosh Dan Vidosh.
Another good break for the Cavs: Powell snagged a Tillman clearing pass with Tillman caught at the restraining line. Instead of shooting on the open net from 35 yards away, Powell tried to hit Coffman cutting down the middle for a sure thing, but Coffman botched it and UVA recovered with a collapsing defense. Powell would pull off the prettiest play of the day in response to that. The Orangemen went up 8-7 on Powell's drive from far back left to all the way around the opposite pipe, which Powell pulled off with lightening speed. He juked amid doubleteams, pump faked, then hit Springer a little higher up on the same side of the field -- Springer finished with a lefty overhanded blast.
UVA's Tillman would then stone a jumping Springer in the middle for a point blank crease attempt, but Tillman could only do so much himself despite a fantastic day in the cage -- Cuse's Sean Lindsay nailed a righty blast from the top right of the box when Pat Hogan's rebound from a drive on the opposite side shot out up top. Lindsay had all the time in the world to wind up.
UVA would control for a little bit. Gill took a hard split dodge at X to his left but Glatzel held him up for a double team in front of the cage as Gill was looking to set for a feed. As Gill fell (and still had the ball for a while) Yevoli cleaned up and nearly put the garbage away. But the Cavs would manage to notch another when, after some transition both ways, Gill again took Glatzel from X but this time split to his right and posted up. He found Yevoli cutting towards him through the middle and Yevoli buried it lefty on the run. Yevoli was so wide open that it looked like he found the seam against a man-down defense. The third would come to a close with a 1:00 minute tripping call on Cuse's Jarrett Park -- he caught Gill from behind as Gill was bringing it into the box from midfield after a clear. UVA held to retain possession in the 4th.
On the EMO to start the 4th, Gill threaded it to Christmas on the wing for a quick redirect, but Pfeiffer stuffed him low, UVA recovered, Glatzel picked it off in the middle, cleared it himself and nailed Coffman on a 30 yard bullet to give Cuse numbers. Coffman pushed the middle on the break, drew a slide and dumped it to Springer on the opposite pipe, who finished with ease. 10-8 Cuse, and a major change of momentum given the way UVA was pressing their man-up. UVA would put another on the board in a hurry though -- a UVA shot rebound found its way up to the top of the box, got rotated around the perimeter (still up top) to Christmas, who drove hard righty down the wing with a stick at his neck and buried the righty overhand low. At 10:25 left in the quarter, Gill got raped just off the left pipe with a nice ding-dong check, but Glatzel got flagged for a :30 hold on his take-away (it was a BS call, the ball wouldn't come out of Gill's stick). But Pfeiffer stood tall on the EMO after a sharp feed to the middle.
UVA managed to tie it up 10-10 on a lefty Yevoli garbage goal -- after Syracuse gang-tackled Brendan Mohler and stripped him from behind as he flew into the box on a clear, the ball popped out to Yevoli all alone on the right pipe and everyone else above him, drawn by the loose ball.
After a Powell 1:00 minute penalty for a push from behind on Steve Holmes while riding, UVA had tons of chances but couldn't convert, and often kept allowing Cuse to clear after short possessions (which was mitigated by great riding from Gill). When Powell returned from the box he almost drove in for a backhanded goal after grabbing a loose ball on a botched UVA clear, but bodies met him at the mouth of the goal and he pushed it wide. The game was really opening up now, a little bit of a departure from the first half's halfcourt action. Part of that opening was a result of Brendan Mohler's coast to coast clear on another nice breakout pass from Tillman. Mohler legged it out the entire way, split slightly to his right and nailed one on the run for a UVA 11-10 lead.
There were about 3:00 minutes left in the game now and UVA was being sly about their stall tactics -- they looked intense and hurried, but were either about to go into a stall mode, or at least were not going to the hoop anytime soon. But Cuse's Sean Lindsay, a shortstick, ended that in a hurry when he pulled off a great strip of AJ Shannon in the back right corner that caught Shannon unawares.
Glatzel cleared and Cuse took a timeout. The Orangemen managed a shot (wide) but Brett Hughes beat out Powell to the endline, whereupon Hughes threaded a sharp outlet to Mohler. Mohler crossed midfield and Starsia called for his own timeout.
Gill was holding against Glatzel, and doing a good job not falling prey to Glatzel's kitchen sink, until Gill finally lost it when Pfeiffer doubled. But when Glatzel grabbed the loose ball he inexplicably just chucked it all the way to the other end with fully a minute and change left. Brett Hughes just watched it dribble out of bounds and UVA took it down the other way.
Cuse was able to grab the loose ball, on another strong double, and clear. With 0:25 left, Tom Hardy, starting at the top of the box, drove straight down the middle, veered left and pulled a lefty jumper that beat Tillman offside hip and tied the game up at 11-11. Cuse won the next face and called TO with :11 left. Powell started at the top of the box, split right and bumped it to Nee on his right -- Nee nailed Tillman in the chest protector and Tillman followed it out to the endline. He launched it 50 yards to end regulation.
After an extended scrum on the face, Syracuse's Chris Bickel finally walked away with it and Desko called TO. After some passing around the horn, Brian Nee found himself as the guy to take it the cage from the top of the box. He drove righty with some space, but his rip got deflected up and Ned Bowen picked it cleanly out of the air to send up to Mohler on the break-out, who then passed across to Gill at the point of the 4-3. Timout UVA. When the action resumed, John Christmas came flying in from the box in hopes of drawing a shorti but shot wide right. Then Donn Vidosh threw Gill to the turf as Gill was trying to turn the left corner from X (and Pfeiffer ate up the weak shot). A couple of kamikazee drives for both squads, and some good saves to boot. The OT period ended.
Sean Linday grabbed the face and raced down the gut of UVA's defense, letting a high righty rip go that had little chance of getting by Tillman. It sailed high -- Cuse recovered and called timeout. Hardy tried his luck with an outside lefty blast on a drive up top down the left wing, but Tillman was quick to his 5-hole and the ball rebounded wildly out to the top left of the box. Cuse would be in the crease on their next shot and UVA cleared for a timeout of their own. Christmas beat his man to the inside but launched it high and landed in the crease for a Cuse possession. Josh Coffman, who had been remarkably quiet all afternoon, thanks largely to a quasi-shutoff shadow job from Steve Holmes, decided to take it himself around the left pipe with a combo of bull dodges and rocker steps. But Brett Hughes met Coffman with great body position, never bringing his stick around to the inside and allowing Coffman to roll back. Coffman gave it up and Tillman produced another insane 5-hole save on a blast from outside (I couldn't catch from who). Then Tom Hardy pulled his second bit of clutch game on the day. Hardy found himself with shorti Nick Ruso on the GLE to Tillman's left and drove hard and tight to X . When Russo jumped to clear the back of the net, Hardy had already split back to his left and was headed to an uncontested lay-up around the pipe. He finished, and his teammates mobbed him.
Syracuse vs. Virginia