By: Raj Sagar, Virginia Athletics Media Relations
On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Klockner Stadium, a record 7,579 saw what some consider the pinnacle of college lacrosse. The highly anticipated match-up featured the reigning national champion, No. 6 Johns Hopkins Jays against the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers. By the time the last fans had made their way over from Davenport Field, after seeing Virginia baseball beat Boston College 5-4 in dramatic fashion, bodies were packed side-by-side under the scoreboard, on the hill, or anywhere else there was room to fit. Virginia and Johns Hopkins fans alike, as well as families, students, and young aspiring lacrosse players all came out to see the heavyweight match-up.
Although difficult to fully describe, the electric atmosphere is something head coach Dom Starsia tries to depict to players when they are on their recruiting visits.
“Coach Starsia took us out here on the field during our official visit, showed us the (Hoovision), and told us how the stands are filled with people going crazy,” said freshman midfielder Rhamel Bratton. “He told us, for the big games, even the hill would be full of people. It’s something you don’t really understand until you play a game with it and experience it, but it is surely one of the most memorable playing experiences I have had.”
The Cavaliers and the Blue Jays have dominated the college game recently, combining to win the last three national championships. The Cavaliers knew they were in for a tough game, given the fact that Hopkins had dropped it last two gamesboth in overtime.
“Coach [Starsia] stressed the importance of maintaining focus and poise in a game of this magnitude,” said freshman midfielder Shamel Bratton. “I would definitely say Hopkins is the best team we’ve played this year, despite the fact they recently lost to Syracuse and Hofstra. It was crucial for us to play disciplined, and make plays when opportunities presented themselves.”
It is only fitting that such a highly anticipated showdown,end with textbook execution on a brilliant goal. With 28 seconds to play in overtime, Shamel Bratton was able to push up, force a slide and get the defense moving. He then found sophomore midfielder Brian Carroll, who put it in the back of the net.
“If you can get the ball in Brian Carroll’s hands from about 12 yards away, you like your
chances at the end of the day,” said Starsia.
“It really is an amazing feeling to score that kind of a goal in such a big game,” said Carroll. “Shamel made a play, and was able to find me with room to shoot. Once I got the shot off, and it went in, it was an unbelievable feeling.”
Virginia opened the scoring at the 12:32 mark of the first quarter, with an unassisted goal from captain and senior attackman Ben Rubeor. Hopkins quickly answered, and as expected the scoring went back and forth the rest of the game, with the longest scoring streak being three by Virginia.
High expectations are no stranger to freshmen Rhamel and Shamel Bratton. Twins from Huntington, N.Y., the Bratton brothers were the top-two recruits coming into the 2008 season. Gifted with what seem like almost unnatural athleticism, as well as exceptional stick skills, the brothers figure to be a big part of Virginia lacrosse in the coming years. Against Johns Hopkins, they certainly lived up to their billing as they were involved in (either assisted or scored) six of Virginia’s 13 goals.
“Although they might get a lot of attention from the media, and already have such a high standard set for themselves, two players that are never affected by the hype are Rhamel and Shamel,” said Starsia. “Especially in a game like today’s, with such frenzy surrounding it, they were able to maintain their poise and deliver for us. I expect nothing less from them.”
After seeing them play so well, in what is sure to be one of the games of the year, fans, students, mothers, fathers, and ankle biting lacrosse players would collectively say “Neither do we.”
Conte's Impact Continues to GrowFootball9/28/16In his second year as a Virginia starter, graduate student Nicholas Conte (44.2-yard average) ranks among the nation's top punters.Spirit of '76 Unites Basketball FamilyMen's Basketball9/27/16At the Virginia men's basketball reunion, the spotlight was on the 1975-76 team and the legacy of former head coach Terry Holland.'Hoos Savor Long-Awaited BreakthroughFootball9/25/16The 'Hoos picked up their first victory of the season -- also their first under head coach Bronco Mendenhall -- Saturday at Scott Stadium.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
Jeff White: Kirwan Eager to Get Up and Running
M. Lacrosse | 8/1/2016
Sean Kirwan, one of Virginia coach Lars Tiffany's new assistants, coordinated the nation's top...
Jeff White: Turner Embraces New Challenge at UVA
M. Lacrosse | 7/18/2016
Former UVA star Kip Turner is back at his alma mater as an assistant on new head coach Lars...
Lars Tiffany Announces Men's Lacrosse Coaching Staff
M. Lacrosse | 7/11/2016
Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Lars Tiffany announced that Sean Kirwan and Kip Turner, ...
Jeff White: Tiffany Plans to Push Pace at UVA
M. Lacrosse | 6/21/2016
New head coach Lars Tiffany comes to Virginia from Brown, which went 16-3 and led the nation in...
Virginia Names Lars Tiffany Head Men's Lacrosse Coach
M. Lacrosse | 6/21/2016
Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage announced Tuesday (June 21) that Lars Tiffany, the...
Four Cavaliers Named to the All-ACC Academic Team
M. Lacrosse | 6/20/2016
Four members of UVA’s men’s lacrosse team were named to the 2016 All-ACC Academic Men...
Cavaliers Place Two on the USILA All-America Team
M. Lacrosse | 05/28/2016
Virginia men’s lacrosse players Michael Howard and Zed Williams were named to the 2016...
Dom Starsia Departs as Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Coach
M. Lacrosse | 05/23/2016
University of Virginia director of athletics Craig Littlepage announced today that a change in...
- Online Stores