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.