The Weekend in Stick: If You Can't Make It Plain, Make It Plaid (Part I)

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"The Weekend in Stick": It's exactly what it sounds like -- a recapitulation of this weekend's most notable. No doink.

(Part II is here.)

Colin Briggs is a Heart Surgeon, Tears Cornell's Heart Out
There's two things that you can take away from Virginia's 9-8 overtime ground war with Cornell:

  1. The Big Red aren't going to cotton to any opponent this season, with or without Rob Pannell; and
  2. Steele Stanwick and Colin Briggs may be the best one-two punch in college lacrosse this year, and with all the tools around them, the Cavaliers may be the scariest offensive outfit not associated with the Gathering of the Juggalos.

Even though Virginia never trailed on Saturday, it was a monster game that ended with Virginia remaining unblemished on the season after Cornell gave the 'Hoos all they could handle. After going up three with 5:18 left to play in regulation (Virginia's biggest lead of the game), the Big Red went on an unanswered goal streak highlighted by two unassisted tallies from the Virginia transfer -- Connor English -- to push the game into the extra period. With 1:35 left in overtime one, Stanwick found Briggs out in front of the crease and the redshirt senior crammed it past Andrew West for his 12th goal of the season.

Even though Cornell won the possession battle on the day (the Big Red had 34 offensive possessions against the Cavaliers' 31), but Virginia had a slightly more efficient day on the offensive end (29.03 to 23.53). None of that ultimately matters, though, as Cornell recoiled from every jab that Virginia threw and hung around until the final bell. It was May in March, and that makes my heart tingle. (Am I having a stroke? I hope not.)

Notre Dame Wins! No, Overtime! Notre Dame Wins!
Sean Rogers was determined to get his picture in the paper yesterday. He thought he'd get a nice spread with his go-ahead goal with 12 seconds left on the clock in regulation. Then, Hofstra's Torin Varn decided that Rogers' picture didn't deserve to be in the paper -- something about the pixelation on the image and its lack of usability in the modern printing press -- so he went ahead and tied the game with four ticks left on the clock in the fourth quarter.

Overtime! (Stop the presses! We need to find someone to put their picture in the paper!) In the end, it was Rogers who would end up getting his wish for newspaper notoriety: With some help from Jim Marlatt, Rogers slugged the bean past Andrew Gvozden with 1:19 left in the extra period to give Notre Dame a freaky-deaky 6-5 win against the Pride.

Rogers and Marlatt were the stars on the day for the Irish, each tallying four points in the stat sheet (but only Rogers' picture now adorns his mother's refrigerator like a coupon clipping). Lance Yapor led the way for Hofstra, with three goals on seven shots. This was a big ol' win for the Irish as they'll host Denver next week; Hofstra won't get another shot at a headline-worthy opponent until the Pride travel to Charlotte to play North Carolina in the ESPNU Warrior Classic.

Target Acquired: 30-Feet
All I need is a miracle, all I need is you.

Max Hart should buy all of the lottery tickets today: With just one second left on the clock in regulation, the junior midfielder gave the Wildcats an improbable 8-7 victory over fellow Philadelphian school, Pennsyvlania. The win marks Villanova's fourth win this season against a Pennsylvanian school; the Wildcats are winless against non-Pennsylvanian institutions.

Here's how all this went down:

  • With 29 seconds left in regulation, the Quakers took a timeout. I am to assume that in the huddle it was made quite clear that "Villanova is not to score on a 30-foot shot after we have a painful offensive possession."
  • Penn's Rob Fitzpatrick understands this, pushes through the Wildcats defense, and is stopped point-blank by Villanova's Dan Gutierrez.
  • Gutierrez, because he pre-read the script, fired a pass to Hart on the clear.
  • Hart then unleashes a 30-foot bullet that scooted past the Quakers' goalie, Brian Feeney.

Then there was sadness and happiness, depending on which fancy private school serves as your clothier.

With a slate of Princeton, Maryland, Syracuse, and Penn State coming up on Villanova's schedule, the Wildcats needed the win across their cross-town rivals. Pennsylvania moves immediately into Ivy League play with Princeton, Cornell, and Yale marking the Quakers' next three. I still argue that Pennsylvania won't get back into the NCAA Tournament until they put Ben Franklin wigs over their helmets.

Steven Rastivo Eats Princeton's Soul; 'Heels Get Feisty and Win
So, uh, North Carolina wants to be good again or something?

Here's the story thus far of the Tar Heels' season: crush; really pummel; pummel; what's happening?; train wreck; are there any survivors?; and everyone might be okay. It's been an odd season for Carolina, but the 'Heels are 5-2 and look -- for the moment -- like a team starting to figure out what the hell it's doing. With its win against Princeton on Saturday, a 9-8 victory that tested what had been a drunken defense the last few weeks, the Tar Heels showed glimpses of a team that has the tools to move to Memorial Monday.

It wasn't the Death Squad of Death that drove North Carolina's win this weekend, though. Steven Rastivo -- a guy that takes more heat than a thousandaire at a millionare convention -- finished the day with 16 stops in between the pipes for the Tar Heels and had two huge saves in the final five minutes against the Tigers' Jeff Froccaro and Alex Capretta. It was Rastivo that sustained the North Carolina defense during Princeton's long offensive possessions and for that, he gets the Manliness of Man Award of the Week. His prize is a jerry can so that he can save stranded motorists on the side of the road.

Outside of Rastivo's performance, Carolina did a good job of dictating tempo against Princeton. The game was played at 71 possessions, far more than the Tigers generally like to play. Moreover, the Tar Heels won the possession battle on the day, taking 39 offensive possessions against Princeton's 32. The difference can be attributable to R.G. Keenan's work at the dot on Saturday (12-21) and Princeton's mild difficultly in clearing the bean (17-21).

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