Cockerton

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Mark Cockerton scored four goals, while Matt White recorded three of his own and three assists to elevate Virginia (7-7) to the ACC Championship final with a 13-6 triumph against No. 2 Maryland (9-3), Friday afternoon at North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium.

Virginia will play for the ACC title for the first time since winning it all in 2010 and it will be the Cavaliers’15th all-time appearance in the ACC title game since the tournament’s inception in 1989.

“Today was a good game, a hard-fought win,” Virginia head coach Dom Starsia said. “I told ESPN at halftime that the game wasn’t a work of art early on, but we saw the two teams were working at it. The key for us – for the most part – was that we felt we could defend them most of the day. I never felt that we were...in any peril defensively – every time it seemed like Maryland could seize the game, it appeared like defensively we had it under control.”

The game began as a defensive juggernaut as Cockerton’s goal 59 seconds into the contest was the only score by either team in the opening stanza. Maryland finally broke through at the 13:50 mark in the second quarter on a Mike Chanenchuk unassisted goal after the Terrapins did not find the net in the game’s first 16:10.

The game’s only tie was short lived, as UVa scored 35 seconds later when Ryan Tucker found Cockerton for the junior’s second goal.  Shortly after, UVa took the lead and never relinquished it when Greg Coholan ripped a goal on a White pass for the Cavaliers’ only extra-man opportunity.

Maryland cut UVa’s lead to one goal 3-2 when John Haus scored unassisted at 6:27.  Virginia closed out the half on a two-goal run via a Rob Emery tally and Cockerton’s third goal of the game on a Nick O’Reilly pass, sending UVa into the intermission with a 5-2 lead. The goal gave Cockerton his 12th career hat trick, his eighth of the season and his fourth in a row.

The Virginia defense limited Maryland to only eight first-half shots as the Terrapins committed eight first-half turnovers.

Maryland started the second half on a 3-1 spurt to pull within one goal 6-5.  The second and third goals of the run came in extra-man fashion when UVa was stuck with two players in a full-time served penalty.  Scott McWilliams was tagged with a slash, but it became a full-time served penalty when UVa’s Pat Harbeson and Maryland’s John Haus were simultaneously charged with matching full-time served unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. Official rules state that McWilliams slash also must be a full-time served foul because it happened at the same time.

With a thin 6-5 lead, UVa reeled off seven goals in a row to take a commanding 13-5 lead. O’Reilly tallied two goals and assisted one more during the run, while White scored twice and assisted two more.  Charlie Streep and Emery also scored, while Cockerton stamped the run on an open-net with 2:53 left in the game. Owen Blye scored with 24 seconds left to finish the game’s scoring.

Virginia scored the most goals any team has tallied on Maryland this season and the contest was the Terrapins most lopsided loss since losing to Duke in 2008 by a score of 15-7. Virginia assisted 10 of its 13 goals on the afternoon and scored eight goals in the second half on 16 shots.

Virginia won the shots battle (38-25), the ground ball battle (32-27) and Maryland won the faceoff battle (12-11). Maryland had 18 turnovers to UVa’s 11 and Rhody Heller for Virginia made six saves en route to his second career victory inside the pipes.