From media releases; Photos and additional reporting: cville-lax.com

  Photo copyright (c) 2007 Tom McCrystal  
 

Virginia’s Garrett Billings (19) moves from “X” in the first quarter against pressure from North Carolina defenseman Jack Ryan (32), Saturday, April 7, 2007. (Click for a larger image: 96K) Billings ended the game with two goals on seven shots, including the game-winner in overtime.


 
Virginia Men: 7 April 2007
1
2
3
4
OT
F
North Carolina
2
2
3
2
0
9
Virginia
3
4
0
2
1
10

 

Sometimes emotion cuts both ways. The word among many of the 2566 lacrosse fans through the second half was that North Carolina “wanted it more”. After trailing most of the game, the Tarheels put together a combination of aggressive field play and brilliant goaltending to pull even with, then ahead of, Virginia. Only an unassisted goal from Drew Thompson in the final minutes kept the Cavaliers in the game.

After the break, Carolina out-hustled Virginia on the face off, worked the ball inside, and shot to win. Goalie Kip Turner had other ideas and kept the Cavaliers in the game with a spectacular save.

After Virginia took advantage of an extra-man situation and worked the ball behind the Tar Heel cage, Cavalier attackman Garrett Billings showed all the emotion of an assassin as he took a feed from Jack Riley and fired a rifle shot past goalie Grant Zimmerman’s left ear to end the game 10-9 after two minutes and 22 seconds of overtime.

  Photo copyright (c) 2007 Tom McCrystal  
 

Tar Heel Brian Burke (5) hands off “nation’s best” attackman Ben Rubeor (9) to Jack Ryan (32), Saturday, April 7, 2007. (Click for a larger image: 114K) North Carolinia’s defense was effective against Rubeor, holding him to a single goal, well below the 3.6 goals per game average he took into the game.


 


The win is Virginia’s 10th in a row — and 23nd in a row at Klöckner — as the Cavaliers improve to 10-1 this season and 2-0 in the ACC.

Billings, who scored a career-high five goals in last year’s win over the Tar Heels, scored twice this evening to share team honors with roommate Danny Glading. Virginia got good goal distribution as eight different players scored.

Bart Wagner tied his career high with four goals to lead the Tar Heels, who fall to 7-4 overall this season and 0-3 in the ACC.

It was a really good win against a quality North Carolina team,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “This is the end of a long week for us. I think that Tuesday game really took a lot out of us. I give our kids a lot of credit for battling right till the very end tonight. I thought we made a lot of mistakes. I thought we gave the ball back to them a number of times, but I thought we were playing hard which is been the defining characteristic of this team to date.”

The teams went back and forth in the first quarter with Virginia building a 3-2 lead after 15 minutes following two goals by Glading.

Wagner opened the second quarter with an extra-man goal in the first minute to force the third tie of the game at 3-all. Rob Driscoll sent the Tar Heels ahead 4-3 by taking a nice pass from Sean Burke and scoring his only goal of the evening.

Billings tied the score less than a minute later to start Virginia on a four-goal run to close the first half that sent the Cavaliers to the locker room with a 7-4 lead. Defenseman Ken Clausen, and midfielders Brian Carroll and Steve Giannone all scored to highlight the run.

The Tar Heels scored all three third quarter goals, including two by Wagner, to tie the score at seven going into the fourth quarter. Virginia had many good scoring opportunities but goalie Grant Zimmerman recorded six saves in the quarter to keep Virginia off the scoreboard.

“I thought we came out in the second half and began to play well, but we couldn’t put a ball by their goalie,” said Starsia, “and they got the goals instead of us. I don’t think we stopped playing during that period of time. They got a little momentum which carried through to the end of the game. I never thought that we stopped playing hard, we just couldn’t get the ball past Zimmerman, in the third quarter especially.”

North Carolina outshot Virginia 11-8 in the third quarter and had a decided ground ball advantage–16-6.

Wagner’s extra-man goal at the 12:34 mark of the fourth quarter sent the Tar Heels ahead 8-7 with the game’s fourth lead change.

Ben Rubeor tied the game for the sixth time with his only goal of the night following a sprint from the right side at the 10:46 mark.

Michael Burns sent North Carolina back into the lead with his second score of the game barely a minute after Rubeor’s goal.

The Tar Heels held the lead for more than seven minutes before Drew Thompson scored his first goal in five games to tie the game once again at 9-9 with 2:06 remaining in the fourth quarter. Thomnpson had a chance to win the game in regulation, but his shot with 12 seconds on the clock was saved by Zimmerman sending the game to overtime.

In the overtime both teams had possession with an opportunity to win. Kip Turner saved a shot by Brian Connors with 2:46 to play, but promptly turned the ball over with a bad clearing pass. Operating a fast break, Wagner threw a pass out of bounds with 2:30 to play to give the ball back to Virginia.

The Cavaliers worked the ball around to Jack Riley who had his bid to win hit the pipe at the 2:16 mark. In the ensuing unsettled situation, Carroll picked up the ball and was pushed by defenseman Brian Burke, drawing a penalty at 2:03.

With the man advantage the Cavaliers moved the ball until Riley found Billings alone on the left side. Billings fired a shot past Zimmerman for the game winner at 1:38.

“We were man up and we were trying to get into a different play,” said Riley, “but they were shutting off Ben (Rubeor) so we had to get into a different formation. We were just trying to move the ball one more and we just moved it one more and got it to Garrett and he hit the open shot.”

The Cavaliers remain unbeaten in night games at Klöckner Stadium with 20 victories in a row.

North Carolina had big advantages in ground balls (57-42) and faceoffs (14-8), but Turner kept the Cavaliers close throughout with a season-high 14 saves. The Tar Heels also helped Virginia by making 27 turnovers, while the Cavaliers had just 18.

In addition to his first career goal, Clausen led the way for Virginia with seven ground balls.

Virginia travels to Durham, N.C., next Saturday to face Duke. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and will be televised by CSTV.