Virginia had concluded a casual second quarter that gave Georgetown hope of accomplishing what no college lacrosse team had done this season, but there were no grand adjustments from the unbeaten Cavaliers at halftime of their NCAA tournament quarterfinal, just some pointed advice from midfielder Kyle Dixon (Archbishop Spalding).
"We hit the post a bunch in the second quarter," Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia said. "In the locker room, Kyle said, `Make sure we shoot inside the pipes.' "
That the Cavaliers did, as they scored nine times in the third period to turn a tenuous three-goal lead into a 20-8 romp over the Hoyas before 7,317 at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Ben Rubeor, a sophomore out of Loyola High, had five goals and two assists. Matt Poskay added four goals, and Matt Ward had three goals and five assists.
Starsia said: "It's not reasonable, to expect to be able to score like that," but these Cavaliers are not an ordinary team.
Virginia (15-0) will meet Syracuse in Saturday's semifinals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. It will be the fourth final four in five years for the Cavaliers, who are seeking their third NCAA title since 1999 and the first perfect season in school history.
The nation's top-scoring team hit 20 goals for the fifth time this season, but the fact that goals customarily come at a premium in the postseason and the opponent's reputation added to the significance of its latest explosion.
Other than a 24-16 loss to Syracuse in 2000, Georgetown had never allowed as many as 20 goals since Dave Urick became its coach in 1990. The Hoyas are always sound at the defensive end, but Urick had no stops for Virginia's abundant offensive options.
Only one previous opponent had scored more than 10 goals on the Hoyas, who limited Navy to seven in the first round of the tournament and came in allowing 7.5 per game. Virginia topped that figure in the third period alone, when the Cavaliers turned an 8-5 lead into a 17-7 bulge.
Virginia won seven of 10 faceoffs in the period, and connected on nine of 18 shots.
"I love watching our offense score goals," said Kip Turner, the junior goalie out of Severn who was rarely tested after the break. "I have a great view of all that passing."
The Cavaliers feasted with splendid ball movement and slick solo moves, as Rubeor scored three times and Poskay twice in the third period.
"I didn't do anything different," said Rubeor, who had career highs for goals and points. "In our offense, things just come. If you're in the right place at the right time, the ball comes to you and you get scoring opprtunities."
Virginia prospered even when it was a man down, as Rubeor scored his fourth turnaround goal of the season. No other team in the nation has more than three man-down goals. His latest, with 3:22 remaining before the break, was one of two first-half reversals that underscored why this has been the year of the Cavalier.
In the last minute of the opening period, the Hoyas' Sean Denihan stole a clearing pass and had a one-on-one opportunity, but Turner cut down the angle and the shot hit the right pole. The Cavaliers got possession and Poskay scored in transition for a 5-1 lead.
After Virginia raced to a 4-0 lead in the 12th minute, Georgetown (12-3) never got closer than three goals. The Hoyas held their own in the second quarter, but then faceoff man Christiaan Trunz ran out of steam and goalie Miles Kass, whose brother Hunter played for Virginia the previous four years, came under siege.
"We did some things I've never seen us do," Urick said. "I saw players make mistakes they had never made, and Virginia had something to do with that. ... They're awfully damned good. They made a believer out of me."
The only previous meeting between the two teams came in 2003, under similar circumstances. After beating Georgetown in the quarterfinals at Towson University's stadium, Virginia went on to win its last NCAA title. In addition to that omen and all their talent, the Cavaliers have very high standards."
"I don't think we played that well," Starsia countered. "We can play better than we did today." firstname.lastname@example.org
Georgetown 2 3 2 1 - 8
Virginia 5 3 9 3 - 20
Goals: G-Paolisso 4, Baird, Denihan, Gahan, Wilson; V-Rubeor 5, Poskay 4, Ward 3, Billings 2, Barrow, Dixon, Glading, Little, Riley, Thompson. Assists: G-B. Cannon, P. Cannon, Samperton, Wilson; V-Ward 5, Dixon 2, Rubeor 2, Billings, Giannone, Kelly, Thompson. Saves: G-Kass 7, D'Andrea 4 ; V-Turner 12, Petit 0. A: 7,317.