Cornell's Mike Bronzino, left, pressures Virginia's… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kim…)
The ballyhooed matchup between two of the top leading candidates for this year's Tewaaraton Award wasn't going to materialize with Cornell senior attackman Rob Pannell expected to miss up to six weeks with a broken bone in his left foot.
That — and an ailing left hip — didn't make much difference to Virginia senior attackman Steele Stanwick, who lifted the No. 1 Cavaliers to a 9-8 overtime win against the No. 3 Big Red at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. An announced 17,138 attended the daylong showcase.
Stanwick finished with one goal and three assists, and his last pass led to redshirt senior midfielder Colin Briggs' game-winning goal with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in overtime. Briggs recorded two goals and two assists.
Stanwick, the Baltimore native and Loyola graduate who is the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner, was visibly affected by the injury to his hip, grabbing it after a check in the third quarter.
But there was Stanwick weaving and bobbing behind the cage and finding Briggs on the doorstep for the game-winner.
"It was just hurting a little bit," he said. "It affects me a little bit, but no excuses. We had confidence in our guys to make plays on the outside. I just thought I'd be a little more effective on the crease. But when I had to go, I was fine."
Stanwick had an assist in each of the first and second quarters but was most effective in the final 8:31 of the game. He converted a pass from Briggs with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter, then returned the favor in the extra session.
On that play, Stanwick passed the ball to junior midfielder Matt White, who drew two Cornell players to his spot on the right wing. White quickly passed the ball back to Stanwick, who — while running behind the left post — fed Briggs on the crease.
"Matt White made a great move on the wing and kind of caught my guy cheating on the strong side," Stanwick said. "So I just faded to the backside, and Matt hit me in stride. Colin backdoored his guy on the crease, and I kind of just led him and he made a great play and just tapped it in."
Virginia, the reigning national champion, improved to 7-0 but couldn't protect an 8-5 advantage after Stanwick's goal. Junior attackman Connor English, who transferred from Virginia in the offseason, scored a pair of goals 21 seconds apart. The Big Red got the equalizer with 28 seconds left in regulation off a smart play by junior midfielder Max Van Bourgondien.
Cavaliers senior goalkeeper Rob Fortunato blocked senior midfielder Chris Langton's skip shot from the top of the box, but Van Bourgondien leaped and batted the rebound from mid-air over Fortunato and into the net to send the game into overtime.
"I thought we fell asleep a little bit," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "I also thought they were opportunistic throughout. I thought we made a great stand defensively, and we kind of get the shot we want. We make the save, and they bat in a rebound. In a game like this when two good teams are playing against each other, the game is not over until the very end."
English and senior attackman Steve Mock paced Cornell (3-1) with two goals each, but the offense was limited to its lowest production since May 29, 2010, when Notre Dame ousted the Big Red, 12-7, in the NCAA tournament semifinals.
Still, coach Ben DeLuca was pleased with what he saw from the offense without Pannell.
"I think they ran a lot of zone and they really slowed the tempo of the game down, and I was proud of the patience our guys showed," he said. "We really preached that in practice in preparation for the zone. We probably could've sank a couple more shots, but overall, I thought we did a very good job."