Stop me if you have heard this one before. After leading by a reasonable margin in the second half, the Virginia Men's Lacrosse team gave up a barrage of goals and needed a late game hero to deliver a game-winner to escape with a close victory.
Sunday, in a game delayed a day because of Snowmageddon 5 (or whatever we are on at this point), Virginia played a tough Drexel squad down to the last 15 seconds before Mark Cockerton put away the dagger to give the Hoos an 11-10 win in Philadelphia.
Virginia has now won their first three games by one goal, this weekend's joining the 14-13 (OT) battle over Loyola (Md.) and the 13-12 scuffle with Richmond.
Owen Van Arsdale opened the scoring with two straight goals, his first goals of the season. Drexel answered with two of their own from Nick Trizano, knotting the score at two apiece. Ryan Tucker bombed one from the outside to take a 3-2 lead, but the Dragons responded with three straight spanning the end of the first quarter and opening the second, giving them a 5-3 advantage.
From there, the Hoos went on an impressive run, scoring three straight to take a one goal lead into halftime. Virginia continued with the first three goals of the second half, extending their lead 9-5.
Then the Drexel comeback started. Trizano scored his third of the day, and Cole Shafer rattled off three straight as the Dragons evened the score at nine with 8:49 remaining in the game.
Mark Cockerton had had enough, apparently, and ripped the most Canadian, Cockerton-esque, beauty of a shot from outside, finding pay-dirt and giving the Hoos a lead with 2:56 to play. The lead was short-lived, however, as Trizano notched number four, leveling the score at ten apiece.
Drexel won the ensuing faceoff (more on that later), but a turnover by Ben McIntosh gave the Hoos the ball with under 50 seconds to play. Cockerton scored his second of the day with :15 remaining on the clock to put Virginia ahead for good. Check out the video here.
The Dragons had a good look right off the following faceoff, but Virginia goalie Matt Barrett came up with his biggest stop of the day to give the Hoos the win.
Barrett had a phenomenal game, grabbing 16 saves and keeping Virginia competitive in the game. The defense needs to limit the shots Barrett is seeing, working on the slides and step outs. Scott McWilliams and Tanner Scales both finished with two caused turnovers.
Owen Van Arsdale and Mark Cockerton both finished with four points by way of two goals and two assists apiece. Ryan Tucker and James Pannell also contributed two goals each, and Rob Emery, Pat Harbeson, and Greg Coholan each notched goals.
Virginia was edged in ground balls 31-29, but were absolutely DEMOLISHED on the faceoffs. Drexel won 19-25, a stifling 76%. The Hoos need to improve in that aspect dramatically before hitting ACC play, or it is going to be a rough season.
Up next, the Cavaliers host Rutgers on Saturday at 5pm, following the home basketball game against Notre Dame.
Finally, I have to give a HUGE shoutout to the folks at VirginiaSportsTV for once again setting the standard in highlights. With time running down, the Drexel online feed froze, leaving a lot of fans in the lurch after missing the final goal. After a quick turnaround, they succeeded where the feed failed, giving the fans what they wanted...the game-winning highlight.