Mark Cockerton scored four goals to pace the No. 9 UVa. Cavaliers (9-5) to a 12-8 triumph over the Bellarmine Knights (6-5) on Saturday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for UVa.
“It was an important win for us,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia. “It certainly feels good to win a game when you’ve been on the short end a couple games in a row. At the same time, I expect us to play better than that. I think we came around a bit in the second half, especially on the defensive end of the field. I understand that it’s toward the end of a long season, but we’re not in the excuse business here and we need to play better all the time. I hold us to a higher standard. We’ll take this win today and be happy we got it, but we can play better and that will be our goal moving forward.”
Thirteen fourth- and fifth-years were honored before the game as part of this year’s Senior Day festivities. Charles Bilello (team manager), Cockerton, Rob Emery, Pat Glading, Pat Harbeson, Bobby Hill, Chris LaPierre, Joseph Lisicky, Scott McWilliams, Frank Price, Matt Robertson, Blake Riley and Owen Van Arsdale all were honored.
Bellarmine, who entered the day with a 6-0 non-conference record, scored the first goal of the game on an Austin Shanks score at 13:21 in the first period. UVa responded with a 3-0 run to take a 3-1 lead. All three goals were unassisted by Emery, Ryan Tucker and Cockerton. The goal by Cockerton with 58 seconds left in the first quarter capped the run. Mick Parks won the ensuing faceoff, but threw an errant pass out of bounds to give the Knights one more chance. Cameron Gardner capitalized on the miscue and scored with 10 seconds left in the first frame, cutting the Bellarmine deficit to one goal, 3-2.
The goal by Gardner started a 5-2 Bellarmine streak that gave the Knights a 6-5 lead with 5:49 left in the second stanza. The goal proved to be Bellarmine’s last for the next 25:05 of play.
Tucker found Greg Coholan with 4:22 left in the second frame to even score at 6-6. With 1:07 left before the intermission, Tucker used an athletic swim move to lose his defender and found nylon to give UVa a 7-6 lead going into the break.
With six seconds left in the second quarter Bellarmine’s Bobby Schmitt was tagged for a holding penalty that carried over to the third quarter. UVa made quick work of the 30-second penalty to start the third period as Coholan found Cockerton at 14:36. The goal by Cockerton started UVa’s 3-0 third quarter run and was part of a larger 6-0 UVa run that spanned from the second quarter to the fourth quarter, proving the difference in the game and giving the Cavaliers an 11-6 lead with 12:06 to play.
Bellarmine snapped its scoreless streak at 10:44 in the fourth quarter with a Daniel Zamora goal. Gardner capped Bellarmine’s scoring at 5:27 on an unassisted goal. Ryan Lukacovic put UVa on the board one more time with his unassisted goal at 3:48, finishing the game’s scoring.
Bellarmine outshot UVa 43-31, but the Cavaliers won the battle of ground balls (35-28), faceoffs (12-11) and saves (13-8).
McWilliams recorded three caused turnovers of Bellarmine’s 12 team turnovers, while LaPierre picked up five ground balls.
Virginia returns to action on Saturday, April 26 in the ACC Championship Showcase Game against North Carolina. The neutral-site contest will be played at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will broadcast live on ESPN3.