Men’s lacrosse: No. 11 Virginia outlasts Penn, 15-10

virginia lacrosseJames Pannell led No. 11 Virginia (2-2) with three goals and two assists as the Cavaliers outlasted the visiting Penn Quakers (1-1) on Sunday afternoon, 15-10, inside Klöckner Stadium.

“It was a really nice win,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia. “It’s been a hard week coming off the game on Tuesday night (loss to High Point), playing against a team (Penn) that had a little extra time to prepare. We were struggling a bit there so I felt that this was a really important moment for us and the fact that we played 60 minutes – I’m really appreciative of that as much as anything else. I think we played a fairly complete game, although we didn’t play the smartest game in every instance. I thought we gave away a couple things, but overall, I thought we were playing hard throughout.”

Virginia controlled the first quarter of play as they peppered 16 shots at Penn goalie Reed Junkin. Behind Junkin’s nine first-quarter saves, the game was knotted at 3-3. Pannell and Ryan Conrad scored first for Virginia, giving the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead with 6:23 left in the first quarter. The Quakers came back with a goal by Kevin McGeary and an extra-man goal by Alex Roesner at 4:03. Pannell scored again with 22 seconds left in the period, but the UVA defense couldn’t hold serve, allowing Connor Keating to find nylon with six seconds left in the period.

UVA held a 3-2 advantage over the second period to head into the intermission with a 6-5 lead in the game. During the second period the Cavaliers received goals from Mike D’Amario, Ryan Lukacovic and Matt Emery.

The Cavaliers started the third quarter on a 5-0 run, which spelled the difference in the game. The UVA run was in the midst of a period of 18:34 where the Cavalier defense held Penn scoreless. The UVA third-quarter streak started when Lukacovic found the net on a nifty pass from Pannell at 12:02. AJ Fish and Conrad scored easily off of dodges at 11:30 and 10:17, respectively. Conrad found Zed Williams near the crease at 8:17 and Fish capped the run with an unassisted goal with 7:18 left in the third period.

Penn managed two goals to close out the third quarter, cutting its deficit to four goals, 11-7. D’Amario and Lukacovic scored back-to-back goals to open the fourth quarter, pushing the Cavalier lead to six goals, 13-7. Penn responded with a 3-1 spurt, capped by a man-up goal by Alex Roesner with 1:47 left in the game, bringing the Penn deficit to four goals, 14-10. Pannell put the final stamp on the game with the game’s final goal with 58 seconds left. It came after UVA was assessed a 30-second shot clock.

UVA won the battle of the shots (48-35), where 31 of its shots were on goal. UVA also won the battle of the ground balls (34-25), faceoffs (19-8), while Penn had more saves (16-12) and turnovers (14-11).

“I’m going to guess that we dominate the battle of statistics in general,” said Starsia. “I still don’t feel like the ball is jumping in the net for us. If [Greg] Coholan has a pretty good day today, then we score a bunch more goals. But it was nice to see the attack come alive a little bit. Lukacovic has been just a little bit slower rounding into form and all and I thought he hit his stride a little bit today. We need our attack to play well to be the offensive team that we want to be and today was a step forward for us.”

Virginia returns to action on Friday (March 4) when it opens ACC play against No. 4 Syracuse. The game is set to faceoff at 5:30 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPNU.



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