Greg Coholan and AJ Fish each recorded a hat trick for No. 14 Virginia (1-1) as the Cavaliers went on the road and cruised to a 14-7 triumph over the Drexel Dragons (0-1) on Saturday afternoon, at Vidas Field.
“I thought early on we were generating a lot of opportunities, but we were still not scoring,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse coach Dom Starsia. “I felt we got a little more confident as the game went along and that was the difference overall. I thought we played smartly for 60 minutes, which is a good sign.
“I have been on the sideline for a lot of games and some just feel as important as others I have been around. We needed this one badly, we needed a team effort and we needed to have some people step up and make some plays. We were on our heels a bit coming into this game. This was an important moment for us.”
Zed Williams opened the game’s scoring with an unassisted goal at 12:55. After a Cole Shafer score at 8:05 tied the game, 1-1, Coholan gave UVA the lead back on an unassisted goal at 2:03 to finish the scoring in the first quarter.
Robert Frazee brought Drexel even, 2-2, at 13:34 in the second quarter. Freshman Mikey Herring, making his collegiate debut, dished out back-to-back assists to start a 4-2 Cavalier run to end the half. The first helper went to Fish, the second to Mike D’Amario. Ryan Lamb scored his first collegiate goal at 2:09 to cap UVA’s second-quarter scoring. Hank Brown scored a transition goal with 10 seconds left after a Ryan Conrad turnover brought the Drexel deficit to two goals, 6-4, at the intermission.
Virginia streaked out to a 10-4 lead in the third quarter, via a 4-0 run. The scoring started when Fish intercepted a clear from the Drexel goalie, Jimmy Joe Granito, and shot it roughly 30 yards out into the open net at 11:12. Coholan scored back-to-back unassisted goals to continue the streak. D’Amario scored seven seconds later to cap the run at 5:23 after Jason Murphy won the faceoff and sprinted toward the Drexel goal. Murphy recorded the assist.
Drexel used goals by Jules Raucci and Marshal King to pull within four goals, 10-6, with 1:35 left in the third quarter. Williams found paydirt again at 11:23 in the fourth quarter to start a 4-1 UVA run to close the game. Joe French, Fish and Herring all scored during the run.
Virginia dominated the battle of shots (51-29), ground balls (46-25) and faceoffs (16-9), while holding possession for the most of the game in the Cavaliers’ offensive side of the field. Drexel had more saves (17-9) and turnovers (15-9).
Murphy set the table for UVA, winning 14-of-18 at the faceoff X.
“I thought we had a chance to be good at faceoff today,” said Starsia. “I think as a team we exceeded my expectations, Jason in particular. He was tough on the ground, making plays for himself.”
Herring finished with one goal and three assists in his collegiate debut. D’Amario and Williams rounded out the top scorers with a two goals apiece. Coholan added two assists, while Fish added a helper of his own in the winning cause.
Virginia returns to action on Tuesday when High Point comes to town. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium.