STONY BROOK, N.Y. — — Dom Starsia's smile belied the anxiety and hand-wringing he had just endured as the coach of the Virginia men's lacrosse team.
The top-seeded Cavaliers held off an upset-minded Stony Brook squad to prevail, 10-9, on Sunday in an NCAA tournament quarterfinal before an announced 10,024 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, and perhaps no one was more elated -- or fatigued -- than Starsia.
"Wow, I'm not sure I can take much more of this," Starsia said to open his post-game conference. "When you're standing on the sideline, everything goes through your mind, and I was prepared to tell you that I was proud of my team no matter what. But at the same time, I'm certainly glad that we got the win and that we have an opportunity to play again next weekend."
Virginia (16-1) advanced to its third consecutive final four and its seventh in the past nine years.
Meanwhile, the eighth-seeded Seawolves ended their season at 13-4 and could not add a first national semifinal berth to the first quarterfinal appearance they earned this season.
The Cavaliers built a 5-1 advantage over the first 17:34 17 minutes, 34 seconds of the game but could not stretch the lead against the Seawolves, who tied the score on three occasions: at 5, 7 and 8, the last with 5:36 left in the fourth quarter.
Although Virginia answered with back-to-back goals from sophomore attackman Chris Bocklet at 5:21 and sophomore midfielder Colin Briggs at 3:45, Stony Brook halved the deficit when senior attackman Tom Compitello converted a feed from junior midfielder Timmy Trenkle with 2:11 left in regulation.
But junior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman blocked a drive from junior attackman Jordan McBride in the final minute of play, and Virginia burned off the remaining time to cement the victory.
"I think he ended up maybe forcing that shot a little bit," said Ghitelman, who finished with 13 saves. "I guess I had a good angle on it. It came quick. I wasn't really expecting a shot at that moment, and I just got my stick on it. I was just thankful we made a stop there."
Said McBride: "The ball came, and that's one shot I definitely want back. That's one shot I'll be thinking about all year."
Junior midfielder Shamel Bratton, who scored three goals, said Stony Brook's ability to hold on to the ball in the second half irked the Cavaliers on offense.
"We were a little frustrated on offense because we didn't have that many possessions," he said. "I think [senior goalkeeper] Charlie Paar did a great job of being big out there. It was a little frustrating on offense, but I think we did a good job of hitting the shots that we needed to." In addition to Bratton, Virginia got three goals and two assists from Bocklet.
Junior midfielder and Tewaaraton Award finalist Kevin Crowley paced the Seawolves with two goals and one assist, and sophomore midfielder Robbie Campbell chipped in one goal and two assists.
Stony Brook coach Rick Sowell acknowledged that his team was the heavy underdog, especially after the Cavaliers had won the regular-season meeting, 13-8, on Feb. 27.
"We knew we were going to have our hands full, but we weren't intimidated," he said. "We weren't cocky by any means, but we were certainly confident that we could show up and play."