The ACC men’s lacrosse semifinal contest between Virginia and Maryland was a game of answering each other’s goals. Unfortunately for the Maryland Terrapins, they were unable to provide a final answers late in the third quarter as they fell to the Cavaliers 13-6 in Chapel Hill.
Senior Owen Blye led the charge for the Terps as he recorded a hat trick in the loss. This was the fourth career hat trick for Blye and the 13th multi-goal game. However, Blye was overshadowed by the effort of Virginia junior Mark Cockerton who recorded a four-goal outing while Matt White added three goals and three assists for the Cavaliers. Mike Chanenchuk, John Haus, and Jake Bernhardt each found the back of the net for the Terps as well.
John Cockerton, the nation’s leading scorer, got the scoring starting just 59 seconds in as he had an open lane to shot in front and beat Maryland junior goalie Niko Amato. Amato was able to stop the next nine Cavalier shots and the Terps only trailed by a 1-0 margin after one quarter. At this point in the game, the Terps were fortunate to only be trailing by a goal and were aided by the strong effort of Amato.
Just 1:10 into the second quarter, Chanencuck buried a low snap shot past Virginia sophomore goalie Rhody Heller early in the second quarter to tie the game. It was Chanenchuk’s fourth goal in the last two games after he recorded a hat trick against Yale last weekend. Maryland had trailed for the entire first quarter before evening the score. However, there was a common trend throughout this game. Every time the Terps would cut the lead, Virginia would answer with a goal of their own. That trend started in the second quarter. Only a mere 35 seconds after Chanenchuk’s game-tying tally, Cockerton once again put his stamp on the game. He took an awkward angle shot from the side of the cage and was able to get the shot past Amato to give the Cavaliers a 2-1 lead. It was Cockerton’s second goal of the game. With 11:05 left in the first half, Virginia freshman midfielder Greg Coholan stepped into an absolutely beautifully placed shot up high and gave the Cavaliers a 3-1 lead. Just to put his tally in perspective, Coholan only had three goals and two assists coming into the ACC tournament semifinal after redshirting a season ago.
The Cavaliers added two more goals in the second quarter courtesy of tallies from Rob Emery and Cockerton. Maryland was out-shot 22-8 in the first half and trailed 5-2 at halftime. Time of possession was a key issue for the Terps as Virginia had the ball in Maryland’s end a significant portion of the half. Maryland was unable to get set up on offense on many of their possessions and they beaten on ground balls by a 16-11 margin. It also didn’t help that Cockerton found the back of the cage three times for a hat trick. It was the 20th multi-goal game of Cockerton’s career.
Maryland came out strong in the second half, getting a defensive stop on Virginia’s opening possession of the half. Blye got the scoring started with a beautiful goal just 2:27 into the third quarter. Blye made a sensational move to get in front of the cage and buried the shot to bring the Terps to within a 5-3 deficit. The general trend held true as the Cavaliers answered the Blye goal with a goal from Matt White to extend the lead back to three goals at 6-3.
But this was when the game took a turn in Maryland’s direction. Fresh off netting a goal a few minutes prior and after a Jake Bernhardt goal, Blye found the back of the cage with 3:25 remaining in the third quarter to cut the Virginia lead to 6-5. This was the closest that the Terps had been since they trailed by a 2-1 margin early on in the second quarter. Unfortunately, the comeback was short-lived for Maryland. Virginia scored a pair of goals within 43 seconds to extend their lead to 8-5 after the Terps cut the lead to 6-5. Nick O’Reilly and White had the tallies for the Cavaliers. Virginia closed out the game on a 7-0 goal run before Blye’s third goal ended the strong Cavalier sequence