CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Colin Briggs scored three goals and assisted another to help No. 1 Virginia top the No. 3 Syracuse Orange 14-10 on Sunday evening in front of 5,855 fans inside Klöckner Stadium. UVa (5-0) now owns a 15-13 record all-time against the Orange (2-1) and the four-goal win serves as the largest margin of victory by either team in the series since the Cavaliers won 17-10 in the 2006 NCAA semifinal round.
“We seemed like a team that was very tight in the first half,” Virginia head coach Dom Starsia said. “I always thought we were playing hard, but we turned the ball over so much and had some unforced errors in the second quarter. Syracuse was good enough to turn those into goals against us.
“Even though we faced-off well throughout the game, when we turned the ball over they created problems for us. The message was just relax a little bit and get after this. I even think on defense we were very quiet in the 1st half, we let them run on the top of us with no help, a little lack of communication right there. I think we got better across the board in the second half.”
Virginia struck first with back-to-back goals by Matt White and Ryan Tucker, assisted by Matt Kugler. The 2-0 UVa advantage didn’t last long as Syracuse went on a 6-1 run, including a string of five consecutive goals to take a 6-3 lead. Tim Desko started the run with two goals in a row and Matt Pratt finished it at 5:27 in the second quarter.
UVa didn’t go quietly into the intermission as Briggs scored his second goal of the game on a Steele Stanwick helper 48 seconds before the break. UVa trailed by two goals at halftime 6-4.
After the break UVa scored four more goals in a row, taking an 8-6 lead. UVa wouldn’t trail again. Chris Bocklet capped the run after picking up a ground ball in the crease and shuffling it past Syracuse goalie Matthew Lerman with 7:50 left in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers held a 6-4 advantage against the Orange for the remainder of the game.
Virginia held drastic advantages in faceoffs and ground balls. Ryan Benincasa had a career night at the faceoff X, winning 20 of 28.
“They had been facing-off at about 65 percent,” Starsia said. “For us to dominate the ball, especially in the second half when we needed to get back in the game, certainly had a lot to do with it.”
UVa also doubled up Syracuse on ground balls 42-21.
UVa goalie Rob Fortunato had a career night in between the pipes, saving 16 shots.