CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Greg Coholan deposited an unassisted goal with 1:09 left in overtime to lead the No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers (7-2) past the No. 9 Johns Hopkins (5-2) Blue Jays, 11-10, on Saturday. The triumph for UVa was the 600th victory in program history, making the Cavaliers the eighth NCAA Division I program to reach the plateau.
The win also secures UVa's possession of the Doyle Smith Cup, the spoils awarded to the winner of the regular season matchup between the Cavaliers and the Blue Jays. UVa's win snaps a three-game winning streak for the Blue Jays in the series and the Cup returns to Charlottesville for the first time since 2010.
"This was a great game of lacrosse," said Virginia men's lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia. "I thought that we made some mistakes along the way. I was concerned that maybe the mistakes would come back to haunt us. But we played hard the whole time and there is a lot to like about that. It's a great win for us at a time when we have been struggling a little bit. It's nice that we could step up and get this one."
Nate Menninger won the overtime faceoff for UVa and Chris LaPierre picked up the monumental ground ball in a rat race to the rock. Ryan Tucker got a clean look off a sprint during UVa's first opportunity, but his shot hit the side of the net and the Blue Jays gained possession.
Coming out of a Johns Hopkins timeout, the Blue Jays turned over the ball over within seconds when Well Stanwick dropped a pass. UVa succeeded in the clear and immediately called a timeout. After the break in action Coholan got the ball in his stick and curled to his right above goal line extended, faked the pass and stuck the winning shot through the five hole of Johns Hopkins' goalie Eric Schneider.
"The set play after the timeout kind of ran out and we were flying by the seat of our pants a little bit at the end," said Starsia. "Although we wanted to get the ball in Greg Coholan's hands, we definitely wanted to do that, and in the end he made the shot."
Coholan's game-winning goal capped a 3-0 UVa run. Trailing in the fourth quarter by two goals, 10-8, the Cavaliers buckled down on defense to thwart the Johns Hopkins' attack over the final 11:45. UVa used two goals by Ryan Lukacovic, the first on a transition pass from Tanner Ottenbreit, to tie the game at 10-10. Lukacovic scored his second goal with 5:00 left to play. Johns Hopkins had a chance for regulation's final shot in the final minute, but John Crawley lost a pass in the sun and the ball rolled out of bounds, giving possession to the Cavaliers. Mark Cockerton was unable to have his shot with seven seconds left to fall, thus ending regulation and sending the game into overtime.
UVa opened the game on a 3-0 lead, which included Scott McWilliams scoring 12 seconds into the game off the faceoff. UVa led 4-1 at one point in the first quarter and then Johns Hopkins tied the game at 4-4 after scoring three straight extra-man goals. Two of those goals came on the same foul when James Pannell was charged with a two-minute full-time served penalty for an illegal body check. The three EMO goals for the Blue Jays started a 9-4 Johns Hopkins run that spanned all four quarters, putting the Cavaliers behind 10-8, setting up the UVa heroics.
The game was the ninth annual battle for the Doyle Smith Cup, a spoil since 2006 that goes to the regular season winner in the series. Virginia and Johns Hopkins joined together to honor E. Doyle Smith, Jr., for his lifetime of contributions to the lacrosse programs at both schools and on the national level with the annual regular season winner laying claim to the cup. Smith served as team manager and statistician for Johns Hopkins under coach Bob Scott from 1963-68.
"He was the most unselfish and loyal man that I knew," said Starsia. "He was a great man and it was a pleasure and joy for me to know him, and get to work with him. He's the kind of person for [our players] to aspire to be like and we will try to keep his memory alive."
Smith enrolled at UVa to pursue a doctorate in the fall of 1968, and became the University's first full-time assistant sports information director, a position he held for 31 years until his retirement in 1999, serving as the lacrosse team's publicist for four head coaches: Buddy Beardmore, Glenn Thiel, Jim Adams and Starsia. In 2000, he was elected to the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame and is the only individual inducted who never played the game at some level.
UVa won the battles of shots (40-33), ground balls (45-37) and saves (16-8). Johns Hopkins won the battle of faceoffs (16-9) and had more turnovers (18-14).
Coholan led UVa with a career-high three goals. Pannell, Cockerton and Lukacovic all had two. Matt Barrett tied his career high with 16 saves. Ryan Brown led the way for Johns Hopkins with three goals, while Rob Guida had four assists in the losing effort.