Photos and game summary:

Photo copyright (c) 2007 Tom McCrystal

Cavalier goalkeeper Kip Turner (15) runs a clear after a save in the third quarter of Virginia’s game against Syracuse, Saturday, March 3, 2007. (Click for a larger version: 137K.)

In a game that was billed as an exhibition of two high-powered offenses, Kip Turner (15) and the Virginia Defense found their groove in the inaugural Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Classic, nearly shutting down Syracuse’s second half in a 11-8 win at M&T Bank Stadium February 3rd. After getting hammered for 6 goals on 1 save in the first period, Turner made 12 stops in the final three quarters, allowing only two goals for the rest of the game. Virginia’s defense dominated the third and fourth periods, limiting them to one goal and shutting out the Orangemen for the final 20 minutes of the game.

In comments after the game, Virginia coach Dom Starsia said, “I thought it was going to be 22-21 again, but we settled down on defense, particularly in the second quarter. Kip Turner’s play in goal and the overall play of the defense in the second half was the key.”

Photo copyright (c) 2007 Tom McCrystal

Defensman Ken Clausen (27) moves the ball downfield on a clear against Syracuse. Virginia was 18 for 22 in clearing on the day. Saturday, March 3, 2007. (Click for a larger version: 120K.)

An NCAA regular-season record 20,180 fans (and a national TV audience) watched the Cavaliers use only four minutes to jump out to a three-goal lead, with goals from Garrett Billings (19), Ben Rubeor (6), and Steve Giannone (5). Syracuse answered with four unanswered goals to take the lead with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter. The teams essentially traded goals for the remainder of the quarter, with the Orangemen clinging to a single-goal lead as the teams changed sides.

The game’s tempo slowed in the second quarter as both defenses began to take control. Syracuse went up 7-5 on sophomore midfielder Pat Perrittā??s goal at the 11:13 mark, but Virginia’s Rubeor scored a goal and assisted on another by Drew Thompson (12) to tie the score, 7-7, going into halftime.

Photo copyright (c) 2007 Tom McCrystal

Player of the game Ben Rubeor (6) works Syracuse defenseman Steven Panarelli (11) around the crease. Saturday, March 3, 2007. (Click for a larger version: 148K.)

Perhaps the turning point of the game was Turner’s heroic save at the top of the crease in the third quarter against Syracuse attackman Mike Leveille. Turner told, “I never saw the shot, but I knew where it was going. Even before he took the shot, I already knew I was going to make the save.”

Syracuse attackman Kenny Nims scored an extra-man goal 10 minutes into the second half to give the Orangemen their final lead at 8-7. Rubeor, who finished with three goals and two assists, tied the match back up one minute later and then Foster Gilbert (1) scored with 3:11 left in the third quarter in what proved to be the game-winning tally. Danny Gladding (9) added a goal in the final minute of the third quarter and Thompson scored the only goal in the fourth quarter to top off UVa’s 11-8 win.

Rubeor finished the game with three goals and two assists, and was voted the Player of the Game. Billings had two goals and an assist for the Cavaliers. Thompson scored 2 goals on 7 shots, while Adam Fassnacht took 12 of 16 faceoffs and 6 ground balls.

In the first game of the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Classic, Johns Hopkins defeated Princeton, 7-6, in double overtime.

Syracuse visits Georgetown next Saturday. Virginia looks to notch the team’s third win against VMI Monday night at home in Klockner Stadium. Game time is 7:00pm.

(Additional reporting: Virginia & Syracuse media releases)

Photo copyright (c) 2007 Tom McCrystal

Virginia defenseman Matt Kelly (33) and long stick middie Mike Timms (44) work a double team against Syracuse attackman sophomore Greg Niewieroski (20), Saturday, March 3, 2007. (Click for a larger version: 121K.)

Photo copyright (c) 2007 Tom McCrystal

Garrett Billings (19) develops a head of steam to get past Kyle Guadagnolo (33) after claiming a ground ball in the second game of the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Classic. Saturday, March 3, 2007. (Click for a larger version: 101K.)