No. 1 Virginia (6-0) traveled to Ithaca, N.Y., for the first time since 1974 to face the No. 8 Cornell Big Red (4-1) and came away with its first all-time victory at Schoellkopf Field on Saturday afternoon, 12-4. The Big Red entered the game with a 22-1 home record since the start of the 2007 season. Until today, the only loss during that span came against Ohio State in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
The Cavaliers' only other previous trip to Cornell came during the 1974 NCAA Tournament. Cornell was victorious, 15-8, eliminating UVa from the tournament.
The Cavaliers won many of the team battles, edging the Big Red on shots (40-29), ground balls (30-24), face-offs (11-9) and saves (14-12) en route to Virginia's third victory over a Top 20 team this season.
I thought Ryan [Nizolek] and Ken [Clausen] did a nice job on their two big guns early, Rob Pannell and Ryan Hurley," said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. "Adam [Ghitelman] did a nice job in goal and I though we were solid through out the game. We felt from very early on in the game that we could defend them and our effort was consistent there."
Virginia wasted no time scoring on its first possession, 2:33 into the game, when Matt White (Ridgefield, Conn.) scored on a Chris Bocklet (South Salem, N.Y.) pass. The Cavaliers then tallied back-to-back unassisted goals, first by Shamel Bratton (Huntington Station, N.Y.) with 11:00 left in the first quarter, followed by Bocklet at 10:46 on the ensuing faceoff.
Chris Langton put Cornell on the board with 3:16 remaining in the first quarter, cutting the UVa advantage to two goals, 3-1. Langton beat the UVa defense for the unassisted goal on a bounce shout.
Bocklet pushed UVa's lead back to three goals, 4-1, with his unassisted score with 1:35 left in the opening quarter, capping the first quarter scoring.
Shamel Bratton, who has played mostly extra-man opportunities the past few weeks because of an injury, scored his second goal of the game, unassisted with 12:30 left in the opening period.
Rhamel Bratton (Huntington Station, N.Y.) followed his brother's lead and tallied an unassisted goal with 4:11 left in the second quarter after faking a pass to the middle.
To start the second half Colin Briggs (Narragansett, R.I.) intercepted a Ross Gillum pass and ran two-thirds of the field and scored unassisted with 11:40 left in the third quarter. The goal pushed UVa's lead to six goals, 7-1.
Cornell answered right back with 9:57 left in the third quarter. After a causing a Cornell turnover and picking up the ground ball, Matt Lovejoy (Orford, N.H.) turned the ball back over to the Big Red allowing Rob Pannell to break lose for the unassisted score, cutting UVa's lead to five goals, 7-2.
Virginia then scored three straight goals to close out the third quarter scoring and giving UVa the 10-2 lead. Rhamel Bratton scored his second goal of the contest after Garett Ince (Oakville, Ont.) picked up the ground ball from his the faceoff he just won and registered the assist with 9:34 left in the period.
Briggs scored his second goal on a Steele Stanwick (Baltimore, Md.) helper at 4:56. After winning the ensuing faceoff, Stanwick found Chris LaPierre (Medford, N.J.) open for the score with 4:48 left in the third quarter, capping the scoring and handing the Cavaliers the 10-2 lead.
George Huguely (Chevy Chase, Md.) scored his second goal of the season on a Bocklet pass with 10:17 left to play, extending the UVa lead to nine goals, 11-2.
Cornell answered right back when an errant pass from Andrew MacDonald found Ryan Hurley wide open for the score with 10:02 remaining in the game. The goal brought the Cavaliers' advantage down to eight goals, 11-3.
Max Pomper fired home his first goal of the season from 15 yards out on a LaPierre pass with 7:33 left in the contest to give UVa the 12-3 lead and capping UVa's scoring for the day.
Cornell scored one more time via Austin Boykin's unassisted score with 27 seconds left, finishing the game's scoring and leaving UVa with the eight goal triumph, 12-4.
The Bratton twins and Bocklet led the way with two goals apiece. Stanwick and Bocklet each had two assists, while Adam Ghitelman (Syosset, N.Y.) had a game-high five ground balls and saved 14 shots in between the pipes.
The UVa defense registered a stellar outing, limiting Cornell's starting attack to two goals (Hurley and Pannell). Between the Cavaliers' starting defense and the goalie Ghitelman, UVa secured 18 of the team's 30 ground balls and caused six turnovers.
"When a spot opened up on our schedule a couple years ago I was looking to add one of the top teams in the country," said Starsia. "Cornell has been one of the best teams in the Ivy League over the last 10 years. My roots at Brown all those years I was there - my experiences with Cornell tell me this is one of the classiest programs in our sport. We are happy we were able to add them to the schedule and I hope this is the beginning of a great rivalry."
No. 1 Virginia returns to Klöckner Stadium on Tuesday for its final midweek game of the season when it hosts Vermont, who is coached by former UVa All-American defenseman Ryan Curtis, the 2000 National Defenseman of the Year. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.