ANNAPOLIS -- Just when it appeared that Navy was on the verge of a shocking early-season lacrosse upset, Virginia's Kevin Pehlke lighted a fourth-quarter spark under the No. 6 Cavaliers.
Pehlke, a junior from Calvert Hall, scored two of his three goals in the fourth quarter as Virginia rallied to nip Navy, 10-9, before 1,925 at the Academy's Turf Field.
It was a bitter setback for the Midshipmen (0-2), who had outplayed Virginia (2-0) through the first three quarters. "Navy played well and hard and they played stingy defense, especially in the goal with [Kevin] Farrington. Bryan [Matthews, Navy coach] really had them ready for us," said Virginia coach Jim Adams.
The Midshipmen had broken a 5-5 halftime deadlock on an early third-quarter goal from Matt Pawlikowski (three goals and an assist) when Farrington, the junior from Loyola High, stepped to the forefront, recording nine of his 18 saves in the third quarter. Gardner Smith's goal put Navy ahead 7-5 just over five minutes into the second half and Farrington shut out the Wahoos, who took 17 third-quarter shots.
"Farrington certainly put us in a position to win the game," said Matthews. "It's a shame a couple of breakdowns in clearing, unforced errors, really decided the outcome."
Pehlke took full advantage of the first Navy miscue in the fourth quarter, scooping up a loose ball on a broken clear early in the quarter and scoring into an open goal, snapping a shutout string of more than 21 minutes by the Navy defense. That goal cut the Navy lead to 7-6.
"That seemed to pick up the team. The tempo was coming toward us," said Pehlke. "We didn't come out and play until the fourth quarter when our backs were against the wall. And that's the time when you have step up."
Pehlke's next goal put Virginia ahead to stay, 9-8, with 2:21 left in the game.
With the score tied for the sixth time during the afternoon, 8-8, Virginia goalie James Ireland made a save on Navy's John Tierney and Pehlke picked up another loose ball on a clear seconds later near midfield.
"I was looking for an open man, but nobody came toward me, so I had to take it," said Pehlke, who beat Farrington from in front of the crease.
Then sophomore midfielder Chris Driggs (John Carroll) intercepted a Navy clearing pass less than a minute later and scored his third goal to open a 10-8 Wahoo lead with just under two minutes to play.
Smith scored his second goal for Navy with only two seconds to play and the Wahoos escaped with a one-goal victory.
"Our guys played great. They gave a super effort," said Matthews. "We won the first three quarters, but Virginia won the fourth quarter. But I'm going to stress the effort. This was a very talented team we played."
Virginia 3 2 0 5 -- 10
Navy 3 2 2 2 -- 9
Goals: V--Driggs 3, Frazer 3, Pehlke 3, Falk; N--Pawlikowski 3, Smith 2, Slough 2, Roszko 2. Assists: V--Falk, Street. N--Tierney 2, Pawlikowski, Roszko. Saves: V--Ireland 12; N--Farrington 18.