Sunday, May 21, 2006

Virginia downs Georgetown 20-8

If the theme of Saturday's quartfinal matches was thrilling or action-packed, Sunday's was most assuredly dominance.

First Maryland took care of Princeton with suffocating defense. This time it was the offensive onslaught of the number one team in the country, the Virginia Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers were unarguably rusty in their first round match against Notre Dame. Losing the game with Duke really seemed to present a stumbling block but that didn't stop Virginia from blazing out of the gate with four unanswered goals. As usual, it was the seniors scoring Virginia's first six goals of the game. Georgetown recovered from the initial barrage of Virginia offense and answered with their own sharpshooter Dave Paolisso. The Hoya scored his first of four goals with 2:49 left in the first quarter. Sean Denihan picked up a key goal to try and end the first quarter with some momentum with the deficit only 5-2.

In the second quarter both sides continued to exchange goals back and forth. Virginia had just about anything it wanted on offense but kept turning the ball over or committing uncharacteristic turnovers. The Cavaliers had four penalties in the second quarter helping Paolisso spring loose for two more goals. Still contributions by Matt Ward, Ben Rubeor and Garrett Billings helped Virginia still led 8-5 at the break.

The second half was where Virginia really turned up the heat. Matt Poskay for Virginia and Garret Wilson of the Hoyas exchanged goals in the opening minutes of the third to make the score 9-6. Then Virginia went on a three goal blitz to extend their lead to six. The Hoyas got a man up goal by Chase Gahan with 8:09 to go, seemingly ending the run. Instead the Cavaliers packed in five unanswered goals. This made the score 17-7 and was more than enough for the Virginia offense to hold the ball and walk their way into Philadelphia. In the end, Virginia had a 20-8 beatdown in their win column, extending their longest winning streak to 15.

Virginia had looked far different from when they were virtually invincible earlier in the season. The Cavalier defense had given up way too many goals to mediocre competition and many began to wonder if Virginia would find its form in time. Well, mission accomplished. The Virginia offense was not just good, they were unstoppable. Ten different Cavaliers scored and the top players were magnificent. Matt Ward, broken hand and all, had 8 points on the game. Matt Poskay continued a 20 game goal streak with four. Ben Rubeour however had an even bigger game with 5 goals and 2 assists just minutes from his hometown. These amazing numbers have every other team in the country paying attention to the lone undefeated team left.

Next up for the Cavaliers is a rematch with the Syracuse Orange. Virginia won 20-15 earlier in the season to break the record for consecutive home wins at Klockner. This time however, the Orange are riding high on a 9-game winning streak. Joe Yevoli will once again be the focus, the former Cavalier now Orange attackmen figured prominently last time and looks to do so again.

Lincoln Financial Field will be an exciting place this weekend, and one of mixed emotions for the Cavaliers. It would have been truly difficult had Hopkins won to replay the heart-breaking end to last year's season. Will a similar fate befall the number one team in the country, or will Virginia continue its road towards perfection?

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