Under sunny skies and a lively crowd, the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers broke through a sluggish start to rally over the No. 9/14 Cornell Big Red, 11-9, in the fifth annual Face-Off Classic in Baltimore, Maryland. Virginia is 5-0 all time in Inside Lacrosse events, adding Cornell to the prestigious list of those lucky enough to fall to Virginia, namely Syracuse and North Carolina...twice each.
"This was a good win for us against a quality Cornell team," head coach Dom Starsia said following the game. "I have deep, deep respect for Cornell."
"I don't think we've been particularly sharp in the last week, so today was I don't feel like there was a lot of magic in the air most of the day for us. It seemed like we were really kind of struggling on offense in particular, but we worked hard."
Starsia compared today's game to that of last weekend's at Syracuse, saying that in both games, the players fought hard, and he thought last week's effort should have been enough to walk away with the win, like this week.
Virginia's regularly-prolific offense was noticeably absent, as its usual heavy hitters, Steele Stanwick, Chris Bocklet and Rhamel and Shamel Bratton combined for just a total of four goals (five points).
Luckily for Virginia, the offense woke up on in the second half. After getting outshot by Cornell 17-25 in the first, the Hoos looked alive in the second, outshooting Big Red 26-13, with points coming from some names that don't usually highlight the stat sheets.
"Since the beginning of the season, [Colin Briggs] has stepped up for us and has been making plays for us consistently," Starsia said after the game. "You can see it punctuated at the end of last year and through the preseason. We've been figuring up with different ways to get Colin out on the field in different situations so he can continue to make plays for us. Rob Emery is a young guy. He makes some mistakes out there, but he can hammer some shots if he gets his hands free."
Briggs, named the Player of the Game, finished the day as the only Virginia player with a hat trick, coming off of six shots, including five on goal. Emery added two goals and seven shots, four of which were on goal.
Senior goalie and four-year starter Adam Ghitelman had 13 saves on the day and is now eighth on the all-time saves list at UVa. Many of those saves came late in the second half at close range. This was Ghitelman's 43rd career win, as he extends his lead over Kip Turner as the all-time winningest goalie at Virginia. He is seventh in the all-time NCAA DI wins list, and is one of only two active goalies with more than 40 wins (Syracuse's John Galloway has 47 after defeating Georgetown earlier today).
We will have some pictures from the event up later this evening. Virginia will be back in action next Saturday against Ohio State in Klockner. Face-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.