HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Steele Stanwick had three goals and four assists to lead seventh seeded Virginia past the second seeded Cornell 13-9 in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA tournament. The win gave Virginia head coach Dom Starsia 327 career victories, as he passed coaching legend Jack Emmer for the most head coaching wins at the Division I level.
Virginia advances to its fourth straight national semifinals weekend at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium and will play No. 6 seed Denver on Saturday. The Pioneers defeated No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins on Saturday, 14-9, to advance.
“Quite a remarkable day really in so many ways,” said Starsia. “I thought it was a great lacrosse game even though we started out slowly. We had some sloppy play in the beginning and then we got our legs. At halftime I thought we couldn’t have scripted the second quarter any better. We talked about being patient on offense and making the most out of our opportunities. I thought we shot the ball very well and dominated the ball in the second quarter, while we switched in and out different defenses we slowed them down a bit.”
Virginia goalie Adam Ghitelman registered his 48th career win between the pipes, passing former Syracuse goalie Jay Pfeifer (2002-05) for No. 4 all-time in NCAA Division I history.
Cornell jumped out quickly on the Cavaliers, establishing themselves with a 4-1 lead with 3:57 left in the opening quarter. Chris Bocklet was the only bright spot for UVa during the run by the Big Red, when the junior extended his nation best active goal-scoring streak to 34 games, tying the game at 1-1.
The Big Red kept trying to pound the ball on offense, but after a missed Cornell shot hit pipe Virginia started a decisive run in the game. In transition Blake Riley found Chris LaPierre for a goal with 2:41 left in the first period. The goal jumpstarted a 9-0 Virginia run that sent the Cavaliers into the intermission with 10-4 advantage. Stanwick collected five points (one goal and four assists) in the second quarter, while Bocklet and Nick O’Reilly each scored two goals in the frame to lead Virginia.
The Cavaliers held Cornell scoreless for 22:32 during the commanding Virginia run. Roy Lang scored for Cornell at the 11:25 mark in the third period, halting the UVa run and cutting the Big Red deficit to five goals, 10-5.
After a Stanwick goal at 8:43 made it 11-5 Virginia, Cornell scored back-to-back goals by Steve Mock and Rob Pannell, cutting the Cavaliers’ lead down to five goals, 11-6, as the third quarter ended.
Pannell and Mock each scored again in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough as goals by Matt White and Stanwick bookended the Cornell duo’s scores, giving the Cavaliers enough offense to stave off the Big Red. Four saves by Ghitelman in the fourth quarter, including a couple in the final minutes capped the four-goal win for Virginia.