ACC Player of the Year and Tewaaraton Trophy Finalist Steele Stanwick would like to remind everyone of his presence. With three goals and five assists, Stanwick led the Cavaliers to a 13-12 comeback overtime thriller against Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Championships in Charlottesville Sunday afternoon.
Coming into the game, the story line was a high-powered (albeit arguably crippled without Shamel and Rhamel Bratton) Virginia offense against one of the stingiest defenses in the nation. Yet, it was the Bucknell offense that had the spotlight, outshooting the Cavaliers 47 to 30.
The Cavaliers had found themselves in the hole by as much as 6-10 late in the third quarter. They needed something serious to stage a comeback, lest this season close out as one of the most disappointing seasons in recent Virginia lacrosse history. That something came in the form of Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet, who combined for eight points in the final 18 minutes.
Aside from that, the numbers were virtually dead even: Virginia had 32 ground balls to Bucknell's 31. Virginia won 14 faceoffs to Bucknell's 15. Each squad had two extra-man opportunities; neither team was able to capitalize.
Stanwick played a part in each of the Cavaliers' final four goals, including an overtime game winning assist to Matt White. If you haven't been watching the Hoos this season, you could never tell that Stanwick has missed practices and a game late in the season due to calf and foot injuries.
"That's why I just love playing with Steele. He's dodging and he always has his head up," Bocklet said. "He's going to the cage hard and I'm just there to move off-ball and get my hands free and give him some help. That's what he was doing [Sunday]. He was going to the cage hard and they were sliding hard - the crease was open, I was just trying to get there and get open for him."
Bocklet was doing a little more than just playing off-ball, as he led the Hoos tonight with five goals.
With tonight's win, the No. 7 seed Virginia advances to the elite eight to face No. 2 seed Cornell, a squad the Cavaliers had rallied to defeat 11-9 at the Face-Off Classic in March. The Big Red have gone on to rattle off ten straight wins. Cornell's junior attackman Rob Pannell was also named one of the five Tewaaraton finalists.
The quarterfinal game will be at Hempstead, NY Saturday at noon, and will be televised on ESPN2.