Using an 11-2 run, the No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers ran away with a 19-12 win over the Rutgers Saturday. UVa has now started seven-straight seasons with a 4-0 record.
“It felt like another close game,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “At least coming out of halftime and into the second half. I give Rutgers a lot of credit. I thought they played hard, but our guys played tough and really buckled down on defense in the second half.”
Junior midfielder Ryan Tucker scored a career-high five goals in the victory. Mark Cockerton dished out a career-high three assists and matched a career high with seven points. Owen Van Arsdale dished out a career-high four assists and scored a career-high six points.
UVa received hat tricks from Tucker (5), Cockerton (4) and James Pannell (3). Eight different Cavaliers scored goals for UVa and seven of UVa’s 10 starters scored at least two points.
Rutgers led 7-4 in the second quarter but Virginia closed out the first half on a 5-1 run, capped by Tucker’s third goal of the game, which came with five-tenths of a second left in the period on a pass by Mark Cockerton. UVa entered the intermission with a 9-8 lead and the Cavaliers never trailed again.
The game was won for UVa in the third quarter as the Cavaliers reeled off a 5-1 run, taking a commanding 14-9 lead.
“I thought we played really well over the last 35 minutes of the game,” said Starsia. “We buckled down and got a few stops.”
“We had some chances to bury the game,” said Starsia. “But, their kid in goal was special tonight. When we had a chance to get ahead of them a couple times he came up with some big stops. They’re not all going to be one-goal games throughout the year, but I was prepared to tolerate it if we were on the north end of those scores. It was nice to put some breathing room between us in the fourth. It really didn’t feel like the game was over until there was about a minute or so left. I thought we got stronger as the game got deeper and that was good to see.”
UVa goalie Matt Barrett made 10 saves, while Scott McWilliams logged a team save when he jumped in front of the cage to block a potential Rutgers goal on Virginia’s lone failed clear attempt.
UVa returns to action on Tuesday when the Cavaliers travel to Emmitsburg, Md., to face the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers in a mid-week matinee.