Mark Cockerton scored the game-winning goal with 15 seconds left to elevate No. 7 UVa. (3-0) to an 11-10 triumph over the Drexel Dragons (0-1), Saturday afternoon at Vidas Field. The win was UVa head coach Dom Starsia’s 250th as the skipper of the Cavaliers.
After a big save by UVa goalie Matt Barrett, UVa pushed transition and set up the game-winning score by Cockerton. Owen Van Arsdale tried to feed Ryan Tucker in front of the crease, but his stick was hit on the pass. Cockerton picked the ball up off the turf and deposited the ball for the game-winning goal in front of the crease.
“I thought we had opportunities to put the game away a couple times, but we were not careful enough with the ball,” said Starsia. “Too many mistakes overall. We are playing hard and show a lot of characteristics you want to see in your team, but at the same time we need to be a better lacrosse team. I think that will come, but we need to start taking care of that as we roll on in the season.”
Van Arsdale gave UVa a quick 2-0 lead before the Dragons even had the ball on offense, as the junior scored his first two goals of the season. Drexel bounced back to even the score at 7:16 in the first quarter after back-to-back goals by Nick Trizano. Tucker scored at 4:55 to give UVa 3-2 lead, but Drexel closed out the first quarter scoring with a 4-3 advantage after goals by Cole Shafer and Jared Boudreau.
The Dragons’ Ben McIntosh scored to lead off the second quarter at 11:16, staking Drexel to a 5-3 lead. The score by McIntosh was the last goal by the Dragons for the next 23:52 as UVa ran off six-straight scores, giving the Cavaliers a 9-5 advantage at the 6:10 point in the third quarter.
The Dragons bounced back, scoring four-straight goals to tie the game at 9-9 with 8:49 remaining. Cockerton gave the Cavaliers a 10-9 lead with a goal at 2:56. The Dragons won the ensuing faceoff and tied the game, 10-10, on a Trizano score with 1:57 left in the game. UVa lost the following faceoff again, setting up the Barrett save that led to Cockerton’s winning goal.
Cockerton’s goal with 2:56 left in the game pushed his active goal-scoring streak to 17-straight games.
“Mark draws a lot of attention from the other team,” said Starsia. “I told him at halftime to not get frustrated and that the opportunities would come his way. At the big moment in the end when we needed it he stepped up and made some big plays for us.”
After UVa won the first two faceoffs of the game, Drexel’s Nick Saputo went 19-of-23 from the X to keep the Dragons in the game. Drexel won the battles of shots (41-37), ground balls (31-29) and turnovers (19-11).
Cockerton and Van Arsdale led the way for UVa with two goals and two assists apiece. James Pannell and Tucker each added two goals to help the winning cause.
Drexel was led by Shafer and Trizano as both Dragons scored four goals apiece.
Starsia won his 200th career game on the same Vidas Field in 2010 against Drexel. His 250 wins at UVa are a school and ACC record. His 351 career wins are an NCAA record at the Division I level.
UVa returns to action on Saturday when Rutgers comes to Klöckner Stadium. Faceoff is set for 5 p.m.