CHARLOTTESVILLE — Defensive midfielders for the Virginia men’s lacrosse team scored as many points as offensive midfielders in the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament first-round game against Princeton on Sunday at Klockner Stadium.
It was appropriate given that Virginia’s 6-5 victory before 2,612 was the lowest-scoring NCAA tournament game in school history.
The offensive midfield for the fifth-seeded Cavaliers (12-3) scored two points, both on goals by fifth-year senior Colin Briggs. The defensive midfield accounted for two points as well, on a goal by sophomore Bobby Hill with 9.6 seconds left in the first quarter and an assist by junior Chris LaPierre with five seconds left before halftime.
Against the Tigers (11-5), Virginia’s defensive midfielders also made plays more commonly associated with the position. The Tigers closed to 6-5 on a goal by sophomore Tom Schreiber with 1 minute 19 seconds remaining.
The Tigers won the ensuing faceoff and Princeton Coach Chris Bates told his team simply to look for shots. Forest Sonnenfeldt, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound junior whose shot is so hard it ripped the goal net in a fall tournament in 2010, took three.
One went high, with 39 seconds left. One went wide with 16 seconds left.
And his third one, with six seconds left, was from about 12 yards. But LaPierre leaped in front of the shot and blocked it with his chest. Fifth-year senior Chris Clements, a longstick midfielder, won the race to give the ball back to the Cavaliers.
After the game, LaPierre showed off a large red welt in the middle of his chest.
“You usually don’t [try and block a shot],” LaPierre said. “But it was a playoff game, our last home game and there were 15 seconds left. You do what you have to do.”
The four-time all-Ivy defender, Chad Wiedmaier, held Virginia senior Steele Stanwick to one goal and one assist. Senior goalie Tyler Fiorito added 12 saves, including five in the first quarter to keep the game close.
But the game turned on a strong performance from fifth-year senior defenseman Matt Lovejoy and on the scoring from the defensive midfielders. Lovejoy finished with four caused turnovers and four groundballs.
The defensive midfield made plays late in the first two quarters. With 33 seconds left in the first quarter, Princeton senior Alex Capretta hit the crossbar with a shot. The ball went to Virginia and, in transition, Hill scored.
With 13 seconds left before halftime, Clements forced a turnover by Schreiber. LaPierre gained possession in his own end and lofted a 45-yard pass toward the Princeton goal. There were three players there — Fiorito, Stanwick and Princeton sophomore defenseman Rob Castelo. LaPierre’s pass went inches over Castelo’s stick and right to Stanwick, who scored for a 5-2 lead.
Otherwise, the Cavaliers had a frustrating day on offense. During a timeout late in the first half, junior attackman Matt White screamed at his teammates, “That’s not who we are on offense!” It was heard at the top row of the stadium.
In the second half, Virginia had eight shots and nine turnovers. Still, they survived to face No. 4 Notre Dame in an NCAA quarterfinal Sunday in Chester, Pa.
“We keep talking as a team about playing our best lacrosse and being more efficient,” Virginia Coach Dom Starsia said. “At some point, we may have to deal with the reality that this is who we are. . . . We just don’t seem like we score a lot of easy goals.”
●NOTRE DAME 13, YALE 7: Jim Marlatt scored three goals and added two assists as the No. 4 seed Irish defeated the unseeded Bulldogs in a first-round game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame (12-2), which had nine players score, advanced to play defending champion Virginia. Yale (11-5) had won nine straight games.
●MARYLAND 10, LEHIGH 9: Drew Snider and Joe Cummings combined for five goals, Charlie Raffa won 10 faceoffs, and Niko Amato had six saves as the Terrapins outlasted the Mountain Hawks in a first-round game in Bethlehem, Pa. Cummings scored with six seconds remaining to lift Maryland (10-4) into a quarterfinal game against Johns Hopkins.
Lehigh (14-3) was led by Kyle Stiefel’s three goals and Matt Poillon’s 16 saves, but the Mountain Hawks blew an 8-6 lead in the fourth quarter, after outscoring the Terrapins, 4-0, in the third.
●JOHNS HOPKINS 19, STONY BROOK 9: Brandon Benn scored five goals as the seventh-seeded Blue Jays (12-3) breezed past the Seawolves in a first-round game in Baltimore.
Chris Boland also had three goals and four assists and Zach Palmer added another three goals for Johns Hopkins, which will face Maryland in the quarterfinals at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
Matt Bellando had three goals and Russ Bonanno scored twice for Stony Brook (7-10).
Kat Thomas scored three goals as No. 7 seed Duke beat Virginia, 11-9, on Sunday in the first round of the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament in Durham, N.C.
Maddy Morrissey added two goals and an assist, and her second goal broke a 9-all tie with 15:44 remaining. Kim Wenger added an insurance goal with 2:47 for the Blue Devils (12-6). Duke advances to play defending champion Northwestern.
Katie Slater scored her fourth goal with 17:06 left to tie it at 9 for Virginia (11-8).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.