Virginia tops the Mount, 18-11
Though the rain necessitated a move from the familiar confines of Klöckner Stadium to the University Hall Turf Field, the No. 6 Virginia men’s lacrosse team came away with an 18-11 victory against Mount St. Mary’s Tuesday evening to remain undefeated.
“When I was standing up at Klöckner at 5:00 … the water was over my shoes,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “[But] we’re generally a group that is fairly resilient and handles these changes pretty well.”
The Cavaliers (4-0) held a 10-0 record all-time against the Mountaineers (2-2) coming into the game, but it was the visitors who got on the board first in a sloppy first quarter. The Mount’s leading assist man, senior attackman Andrew Scalley, found fellow senior attackman Brett Schmidt right on the crease for an easy goal at the 9:06 mark.
Virginia played from behind for more than five minutes until senior defenseman Harry Prevas picked up the ball on a failed Mountaineer clear and pushed the pace in transition, hitting sophomore midfielder Ryan Tucker for a score from in close at 3:24.
Junior attackman Mark Cockerton then continued his hot start to the season, picking a bounce pass from senior midfielder Matt White off the turf and ripping an underhanded shot past Mt. Saint Mary’s sophomore goalie Adam Borgogelli for a man-up goal with 2:36 left in the quarter. Sophomore midfielder Mick Parks won the ensuing faceoff and quickly found redshirt junior attackman Nick O’Reilly, who dumped the ball to Cockerton for his second goal in seven seconds. Cockerton tied his career-high with six goals on the night, bringing his team-leading total to 17 for the season.
“I have a lot of confidence going right now,” Cockerton said. “That’s probably the main thing. Guys are looking for me a lot. They know I have … the hot hand right now. I’m just getting open and putting it in the back of the net.”
But the Mount struck first again in the second quarter when redshirt senior midfielder Eric Ososki inverted behind the net and then beat his defender around the crease to close the gap to one goal at the 12:56 mark.
The Cavaliers would push the margin back to two goals 13 seconds later in a bizarre turn of events. During the subsequent faceoff, the two teams fought for possession of a loose ball down inside the Mountaineers’ box when Borgogelli came out of the crease in an attempt to scoop the ball. The ball squirted by the Mount’s goaltender and across the goal line, and Parks was credited with the unassisted goal.
Then Rob Emery took over. The junior midfielder first blew a sidearm shot by Borgogelli at 9:58 off Cockerton’s lone assist of the game. After redshirt freshman midfielder Greg Coholan hit freshman attackman James Pannell cutting across the crease to make it 6-2 and Mount St. Mary’s senior midfielder Daniel Stranix answered with a bounce shot in tight, Emery found the twine again. O’Reilly moved the ball from down low to Emery at the top of the box with just inside of seven minutes to go in the second quarter, and Emery buried an overhand rip. Two minutes later, O’Reilly, who finished with four assists, received a pass behind the goal off a pick and roll and again found Emery, who converted to make the score 8-3.
“Our attackmen were doing a really good job of drawing the attention of the defense,” Emery said. “I rolled over the top a couple times and Nick O’Reilly made a bunch of really great looks … catching the defensemen sloughing down, and I was able to put the ball in the cage.”
Stranix fired a shot from the top left of the box inside the near pipe and past freshman goalie Dan Marino to cut the lead to four at 2:01, but Emery drove down the right alley and bounced his fourth goal of the quarter by Borgogelli with less than a minute left before halftime. However, a Prevas slash penalty would give the Mount a man-up opportunity, and Schmidt would hit Ososki for another goal right on the crease with 0:16 left in the half.
“I’m a little concerned about our play defensively away from the ball,” Starsia said. “I don’t worry that much about the goals where they isolated our midfielders behind [the net] and came around and stuck a couple, but they were able to find some guys open away from the ball that still concerns me.”
Coming out of the break, redshirt senior attackman Cody Lehrer kept the Mountaineers close when he bounced a shot between Marino’s legs to cut the lead to 9-6. One minute later, Virginia redshirt sophomore attackman Owen Van Arsdale scored off an O’Reilly assist, and another minute after that, Van Arsdale beat his man around the crease for his second goal.
The squads continued to trade goals throughout the third quarter, with Scalley, Lehrer and Schmidt each tallying goals for the Mount, while O’Reilly and Cockerton scored for Virginia. The Cavaliers held a 13-9 lead entering the final quarter.
Cockerton opened the quarter by scoring two consecutive goals off assists from Van Arsdale in the first four minutes and later scored the Cavaliers’ final goal during a stall warning at 4:52. Tucker face dodged past his man to bounce a shot into the back of the goal at the 7:33 mark, and White recorded his ninth goal of the season shortly thereafter from the right wing on an assist from Emery.
“We’re all working together as a team,” Cockerton said. “This year we don’t have that superstar guy, so we’re all working together as a team and … they can’t really guard us, because everyone’s doing their own thing.”
Though Schmidt and his twin brother, senior midfielder Bryant Schmidt each scored for the Mount, Virginia’s lead proved too large to overcome. The Cavaliers held a 51-34 margin in total shots, marking the fourth time this season they have outshot their opponent. The team averages 55.5 shots per game, a significant increase from last season.
“I think it’s a big factor and it’s something that we stressed over the course of the offseason,” Emery said. “With the rule changes that came along this year we wanted to play a little more up-tempo, and move from shooting somewhere in the [range of] 30 shots per game to closer to the 50s. The evidence speaks for itself so far, I think we’ve been doing a really good job of that.”