For the first time in what's felt like months, the No. 11 Virginia Cavaliers men's lacrosse team put together a full 60 minutes of play, crushing No. 13 Penn by a score of 11-2 on UVA's senior day. It was a day of mixed emotions, as the Cavaliers needed to regain focus after a media-frenzied week with the dismissal of Shamel Bratton and indefinite suspension of twin brother Rhamel, not to mention playoffs being on the line.
"We pulled together as a team," senior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman said following the game about this week's distractions. "I know all you media guys like to talk about it, but for us it was about getting a win this weekend. Our backs were against the wall in terms of getting to the playoffs here, so we knew we had to win this game against a really good Penn team."
The Cavaliers scored the first three and just never looked back. When Penn scored first in the second quarter, just nine seconds in, Wahoos fans couldn't help but think, "here we go again." After all, heading into this game, the Hoos had lost four of the past five and had required an overtime goal to get the lone win.
But the Hoos would not be denied today. Virginia would go on to score the next seven straight, and Penn was unable to find their second - and final - goal of the day until midway through the fourth quarter.
Chris Bocklet, John Haldy and Rob Emery each scored two goals apiece, while, Garett Ince, Nick O'Reilly, Matt Kugler and Mark Cockerton each added one.
"If you're the No. 1 seed and you're asking me about that, I'd be telling you that that's who we are and who we want to be," head coach Dom Starsia said regarding what pressures are with being a bit down this year. "We've been in that position enough. If we're going to come out of the shadows a little bit - this year, perhaps - and maybe sneak up on some people, that's a luxury we don't usually get here, and we're going to try to take advantage if we can."
Virginia will get to rest this week before the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament pairings are announced live on ESPNU on May 8 at 9:00 p.m.
"Hopefully we'll make a little run here. The team that gets kind of lucky in multiple choice is often the team that's left standing in the end. Hopefully that will be us."