Virginia wins opener in thrilling style
Cavs coach ties Division I career victories record
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Matt White scored 1:27 into overtime after Virginia made a dramatic comeback in regulation to beat Bucknell 13-12 in the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament.
White’s second goal of the game from the right side of goalie Kyle Feeney came off a pass from ACC player of the year Steele Stanwick, whose two goals in the final 2:32 forced overtime.
The Cavaliers (10-5), who advanced to play Cornell in the quarterfinals next weekend, had their only other lead of the game after Chris Bocklet opened the scoring 1:34 into the game.
“There are some games that are going to stay with you a long time, and this is one of them,” said Dom Starsia, the coach in his 19th season at Virginia with three national championships.
The victory allowed him to tie Jack Emmer for the most career victories at the Division I level with 326. Starsia is 326-118 in 29 years as a coach, Emmer was 326-184 in 36 seasons.
Bucknell (14-3) got three straight goals from Charlie Streep to break a 6-all halftime tie and led 10-6 late in the third quarter before Stanwick’s first goal pulled Virginia to 10-7.
White scored early in the fourth quarter, pulling the Cavaliers within 10-8, but Todd Heritage scooped up a loose ball in front of the Cavaliers goal and scored his third goal with 8:04 to play, restoring Bucknell’s three-goal margin and forcing Virginia to find offense fast.
Bocklet scored his fourth and fifth goals 44 seconds apart to make it 11-10.
Peter Burke’s goal off a pass from Billy Eisenreich made it 12-10 with 4 minutes left, but then Stanwick took over. He had a hand in six of Virginia’s final seven goals on the day.
“It was definitely an emotional roller coaster,” Stanwick said. “There were a few times when I started to doubt us a little bit. It just shows this team and what we’re all about.”
Streep was stunned by the finish.
“As we saw, it’s not over until it’s over, even with a four-goal lead,” he said, crediting Virginia with never giving up after trailing all game. “That was pretty hard to watch happen.”
Teammate Jake Clarke added: “Just to watch it happen, you’re sort of in disbelief.”
Virginia, the top-ranked team in the preseason, entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed, its lowest since 2001, and with designs on turning things around by building some momentum.
“We’re just trying to stay together as long as we can,” Stanwick said.
And they had to do it in their last two games without two of their best players.
Twin brothers Shamel and Rhamel Bratton both missed the regular season finale against Penn. Shamel Bratton was dismissed from the team before that game for violating team rules, and his brother was suspended. Rhamel Bratton watched Sunday’s game from the sidelines.
He could return to practice this week and possibly play against Cornell.
Heritage also scored three times for the Bison.
The game was tied at six at halftime, with Bocklet scoring the first goal just 1:34 into the game and the last two less than two minutes apart late in the half to pull Virginia even.
After Bocklet’s first goal, the Bison scored three in a span of 22 seconds.
The Cavaliers rallied to pull even, but Eisenreich scored twice for the Bison in a span of less than a minute before Bocklet answered with 3:56 and 2:19 left in the half to tie it.
The Bison had three shots hit the goal post in the second quarter.