Virginia struggles past Hobart Goalie, upstart Statesmen put up good fight but lose NCAA tourney debut, 16-10

May 10, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

AMHERST, Mass. -- A hot goalie had Dom Starsia reconsidering his position on the bye business.

Virginia had earned a pass directly into the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament the past three years. The Cavaliers had dealt with injuries and inactivity recently, so coach Starsia said he was delighted to play a first-round game this time, but that wasn't his sentiment midway through the third quarter against Hobart yesterday.

"The players said they weren't worried, but I was," Starsia said. "I was wishing we had a first-round bye. We were close to being discouraged."

Sixth-seeded Virginia wound up a 16-10 victor over Hobart at Richard F. Garber Field, but the Cavaliers needed 42 minutes before they began to solve the cold, the rain and Statesmen goalie Fred Pawlikowski. Virginia didn't connect until its 20th shot, and trailed 7-5 late in the third quarter before the game turned on its 5-0 run.

The Cavaliers (8-4) advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal doubleheader at Hofstra, where they'll meet Syracuse, which beat the Cavaliers, 18-17, in the season opener. It was the latest run-and-gun classic staged by the two, and for the longest time yesterday it looked as if Virginia wouldn't get a shot at revenge.

Unseeded Hobart (8-5) was making its Division I tournament debut after an historic run in Division III, where it won 13 titles and 12 straight from 1980 to 1991. Its bid was something of a surprise, considering the Statesmen were the only team in the tournament without a victory over another NCAA tournament team.

Hobart staggered in with four straight losses, including a combined 37-11 shelling by Duke and Syracuse, but yesterday it came out as big as Pawlikowski, who at 6 feet and 240 pounds fills the cage quite nicely.

"We don't have a problem with portly goalies at Hobart," coach B. J. O'Hara said. "Fred found a spot where he can excel in athletics. He's been the difference for us all year, and today he was unbelievable."

Virginia fired 70 shots, but it found pipe eight times and didn't score until the 24th minute. Pawlikowski finished with 28 saves, two shy of the tournament record, but he had 22 by the half, and it was painful to watch the Cavaliers wear him down.

Jared Bebee gave Hobart a 7-5 lead with 5: 44 left in the third quarter, but the patient Cavaliers took command in the final minute of the third period, when they needed just 42 seconds to peel off three goals. Drew McKnight tied it with 51.8 seconds left in the quarter, and Jamie Leachman scored off the next two faceoffs.

Pawlikowski had little left in the fourth period, when Virginia scored seven times.

Leachman, a junior from Bethesda who is the Cavaliers' fourth attackman, had four goals. Jay Jalbert led the way with five, and Tucker Radebaugh, a junior out of St. Paul's, had two goals and three assists.

"It was a relapse of our Hopkins and Maryland games for a while there," said Jalbert, referring to opponents who have dealt Virginia three of its four losses. "We were getting good shots, but he [Pawlikowski] kept saving them, or they'd hit pipe. We figured we'd just keep shooting and they'd go in."

Pub Date: 5/10/98

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