NCAA lacrosse: Virginia goes cold and exits early with a 14-8 loss to Johns Hopkins

May 11

Over the final 55 minutes 16 seconds of a first-round NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament game against unseeded Johns Hopkins on Sunday, the Virginia starting attack unit accounted for one goal.

Over that same span, the starting attack for the Blue Jays accounted for 10.

That contrast helped the Blue Jays to a 14-8 victory before 2,054 at Klockner Stadium.

The matchup featured teams that have combined for 14 NCAA championships but missed the tournament last year.

And it was the Blue Jays (11-4) who advanced to an NCAA quarterfinal against top-seeded Duke next Sunday in Newark, Del. The eighth-seeded Cavaliers finished the season 10-6.

“I thought it was a great effort by the kids overall,” Virginia Coach Dom Starsia said of the season. “It just felt like it never was easy. The back of their [practice] shirts is the title of the Arthur Ashe book, ‘A Hard Road to Glory.’ It kind of felt like that’s what the season was. It was hard work the whole time. . . . I never really felt like we got into a rhythm of any length throughout the season.”

Sunday’s game could hardly have started better for the Cavaliers. Virginia took a 2-0 lead on the second — and final — goal by senior attackman Mark Cockerton with 10:16 left in the first quarter.

To that point, the Cavaliers had been more athletic and physical. They won both 50-50 groundballs, had forced a turnover and outshot Johns Hopkins 7-1.

Things changed less than a minute after Cockerton’s goal.

A seemingly routine clearing pass by freshman goalie Matt Barrett (10 saves) fell short of its intended recipient and was intercepted by Johns Hopkins senior Brandon Benn near midfield.

Benn began to run toward the goal when he noticed two things. One, Barrett had strayed well out of the goal to throw his clearing pass and the net was empty.Two, Johns Hopkins leading scorer Wells Stanwick was screaming at Benn to shoot into the empty net.

Benn shot and scored on the fly to begin an eight-goal run that gave the Blue Jays the lead for good.

The Cavaliers threatened late. They closed to 9-8 following a goal by junior Tyler German with 5:29 left in the third quarter. Stanwick came up with an answer for that, too, though it was more physical than vocal.

In the final 20-plus minutes, Stanwick scored three goals to put the game away.

Stanwick, the younger brother of former Virginia all-American Steele Stanwick, finished with five goals and an assist. Benn added four goals.

The Blue Jays have won four of the past five in the series. More importantly, Johns Hopkins also is taking the lead in the Stanwick family, with youngest brother Shack Stanwick, a top recruit at Boys’ Latin (Md.), headed there next year. Steele Stanwick is now an assistant coach with the Johns Hopkins women’s team.

“These guys have handled success and failure the same way,” Johns Hopkins Coach Dave Pietramala said of his team. “They come in the next day ready to work. I’m most excited about getting to spend another week with them.”

Virginia’s starting attack — Cockerton, redshirt junior Owen Van Arsdale and sophomore James Pannell — went 3-for-17 shooting, including 1 for 12 after the early lead.

Cockerton finished with two goals and one assist, and sophomore Tanner Scales caused four turnovers for Virginia. However, Virginia was held scoreless for the final 20:29.

“We got out to a fast start, but then they picked up their intensity, too,” Van Arsdale said. “Credit to them. . . . We didn’t shoot the ball well all game, and it really hurt us. We had great looks in every quarter. We hit their goalie a few times and let him get hot. You can’t beat a good team like that if you’re not putting your shots on cage.”

BRYANT 10, SYRACUSE 9: The Orange scored with seven seconds left, but it was too little, too late as the visiting Bulldogs pulled off the upset.

James Tucker had four goals and two assists for Bryant (16-4), which knocked off No. 2 seed Syracuse (11-5) and will face Maryland on Saturday at noon in Hempstead, N.Y.

DREXEL 16, PENN 11: The Dragons (13-4) won their first tournament game against the neighboring Quakers (11-4) at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

DUKE 20, AIR FORCE 9: Myles Jones finished with three goals and five assists as the top-seeded Blue Devils (14-3) crushed the Falcons (11-6) in Durham, N.C.

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