PHILADELPHIA, PAVirginia scored four unanswered goals to break a six-all tie and gain an 11-7 win over Drexel before an overflow crowd of 2500 at Vidas Field in the season opener for both teams.
With the victory the Cavaliers avenged last season’s season-opening loss when they fell to the Dragons on their home field.
The homestanding Dragons excited the crowd early behind goals from Andew Chapman and Chris O’Connor to take a 2-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Jack Riley notched Virginia’s first goal at the 4:38 mark off a nice feed from Garrett Billings. Billings tied his career high with four assists. Senior Peter Lamade, playing for the injured Ben Rubeor on attack. forged the game’s first tie with his first goal as a Cavalier late in the quarter.
Kevin Stockel scored an extra-man goal 35 seconds into the second quarter as Drexel retook the lead. The Dragons’ advantage was shortlived however as Billings scored back-to-back goals to send Virginia into the lead at 4-3. Drexel matched the Cavaliers’ two-goal run behind goals by Ron Garling on extra man and Chapman.
Brian Carroll scored two extra-man goals in the final five minutes of the half as Virginia took a 6-5 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Colin Ambler, who scored both goals in the final 10 seconds to key Drexel’s win over Virginia last year, scored his only goal less than two minutes after halftime for the fifth tie of the game.
Playing under control throughout the second half, the Cavaliers made Drexel pay for two penalties in the third quarter. Billings found Gavin Gill alone on the left side and Gill easily beat goalie Bruce Bickford as Virginia regained a 7-6 lead.
Nearly 10 minutes later Billings found Carroll open in front as Virginia opened up its first two-goal lead at 8-6. Carroll’s goal was his third of the game, a career-high. All three of his goals came with a man advantage as Virginia scored its fourth consecutive man-up goal. For the game Virginia was 4-of-4 in extra-man situations, while Drexel was 2-of-6.
Lamade and Billings scored back-to-back goals in the opening minute-and-a-half of the final quarter as the lead extended to 10-6.
Greg Casey scored with 10:29 remaining to play but Drexel was unable to get any closer. Riley closed the scoring with his second goal with 2:25 left.
Freshman Adam Ghitelman started in goal for the Cavaliers and finished with 10 saves. His 10saves are third-most by a UVa freshman in his first start. Only Tillman Johnson and Derek Kenney had more.
After allowing five goals in the opening 30 minutes, the Cavalier defense stiffened and gave up only two in the second half. Matt Kelly led the way with five ground balls, while Ken Clausen caused three turnovers.
Virginia plays its home opener next Saturday (Feb. 23) against Stony Brook at 1 pm.
Virginia 2-4-2-311 record: 1-0
Drexel 2-3-1-17 record: 1-0
Scoring (G-A) V: Garrett Billings 3-4, Brian Carroll 3-1, Peter Lamade 2-1, Jack Riley 2-0, Gavin Gill 1-0, Danny Glading 0-2, Max Pomper 0-1. D: Andrew Chapman 2-0, Colin Ambler 1-2, Ron Garling 1-1, Greg Casey 1-0, Chris O’Connor 1-0, Kevin Stockel 1-0.
Goalie SummaryV: Adam Ghitelman 60 mins., 10 saves, 7 goals allowed. D: Bruce Bickford 60 mins., 14saves, 11 goals allowed.
Shots: V39, D36
Ground Balls: V40, D35
Clearing: V18x21, D19x27
Faceoffs: V10, D12
Penalties: V6-4:30, D4-3:30
EMO: V4x4, D2x6
Quotes from UVa Coach Dom Starsia
We've been a little unsettled because we've been injured. We haven't been
great in our two scrimmages so that was a great concern. When we came out
and saw that Drexel was going to play us in a zone, we hadn't talked about
that although we had worked on it a little bit. I was pleased that we showed
some poise. Offensively I thought we got a little better as the game went on
and ultimately that's what carried the day for us.
Comment on Garrett Billings' play today:
If you're going to play defense in a zone and it takes away some of our
ability to dodge, it brings our stick handlers into play. Jack Riley, who's
been hurt and just back to practice, and George Huguely and Garrett Billings
should thrive in this kind of environment and this kind of game. We needed
them to step up and make some plays and they did.
Starsia: Drexel is an outstanding team. (Head coach) Chris Bates does an excellent
job. I'll be honest-I was very concerned coming on the road for this game.
When you look at Drexel in a conference that includes Hofstra, Delaware and
Towson and they are the preseason conference favorite. Half the
all-conference picks are on Drexel's team, so this is a really good win for
Question:Your team had a slim 6-5 lead at halftime and they scored early in third
quarter, but yet your team seemed to pick up its level of play. To what do
you attribute that?
Starsia: Fundamentals and execution. I thought that we started to pick the ball up
off the ground and get more possessions. I thought we started to shoot a
little bit smarter as the game went on. If there's any characteristic-and we
actually just talked about it last night-was the fact that we got a little
tougher as the game went on and that's one characteristic that I'd like to
see continue as the season moves along. This is a good win on the road.
Question: Assess the play of the the attack particularly with Peter Lamade in place of
Ben Rubeor, along with Billings and Danny Glading.
Starsia: We needed to be very poised and we needed to be very patient on offense with
Drexel playing in a zone. I wasn't sure we had the goods for that because we
can be a team that likes to get up and down the field and attack quickly.
This one forced us to be a little more patient and I think we got better as
the game went on.