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May 25, 2002

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Piscataway, N.J. – Senior Tom Hardy scored with 32 seconds remaining in the second overtime to propel Syracuse to a 12-11 win over Virginia in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament this afternoon at Rutgers Stadium.

The Orangemen, 14-2 overall, advance to Monday’s championship game against Princeton for the third year in a row. Virginia ends its season with an 11-4 record.

The Cavaliers jumped to an early 3-0 lead two minutes into the contest behind goals from A.J. Shannon, John Christmas and Jared Little. Virginia scored on three of its first four shots of the game, while Syracuse didn’t take its first shot until almost four minutes into the game.

Syracuse got goals from Josh Coffman and Michael Powell to cut UVa’s lead to 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Virginia’s Chris Rotelli scored 35 seconds into the second quarter, but Powell answered with a goal in transition. Christmas scored his second goal of the day to put the Cavaliers up 5-3, but Steve Vallone matched it almost six minutes later.

Conor Gill scored his only goal of the day 3:35 before halftime, but once again the Orangemen answered. This time it was Michael Springer, who scored his first goal of the day with just over two minutes to play in the half. Springer knotted the score at six by converting with 55 seconds to play in the half.

Syracuse took its first lead of the game 14 seconds after halftime as Spencer Wright’s extra-man goal. This time it was Virginia’s turn to play from behind, but freshman Joe Yevoli found the back of the net 4:57 into the second half.

Springer and Sean Lindsay scored back-to-back goals to give the second-seeded Orangemen their biggest lead of the game at 9-7.

Yevoli scored on a brilliant feed in front from Gill as Virginia closed to 9-8 with 40 seconds to go in the third period.

Springer notched his fourth goal of the day early in the fourth quarter as the Orangemen reestablished a two-goal lead. But the Cavaliers rattled off three consecutive goals by Christmas, Yevoli and Brenndan Mohler in the next 7:20 as Virginia retook an 11-10 win.

Following a Syracuse turnover with 1:02 remaining, Virginia attempted to run out the clock, but Mohler was called for stalling with 35 seconds to go when he stepped out of his offensive zone resulting in a turnover.

Syracuse moved quickly downfield on the restart and Hardy beat Virginia goalie Tillman Johnson with a bouncer with 25 seconds left to tie the score at 11, the fourth tie of the game.

Syracuse won the ensuing faceoff and called timeout to set up a play. The Orangemen’s chance to win in regulation ended when Johnson saved Brian Nee’s shot with five seconds to go.

Both teams had several chances to win in the first overtime, but were unable to convert.

In the second overtime, both teams again missed on several chances. Christmas was called for being in the crease with 2:42 to play in the second overtime, turning the ball over to Syracuse. In the final minute, Johnson turned aside Coffman’s shot with 55 seconds to play, but the Orangemen maintained possession. Hardy scored the winner with 32 seconds left on a dodge from behind the crease, beating Johnson with a low bouncer.

“He faked to the right, so I turned back and I think our defender slipped,” said Johnson. “I went up high and he shot it down low.”

“This is one of the best lacrosse games I have ever been a part of,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms at the end of the season and given a lot of locker room speeches, and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort of our guys. We often get knocked as a team that underachieves, but we battled hard. I feel for my team, but we have an awful lot to be proud of.”

Johnson tied his career high with 18 saves in the cage for Virginia, including 13 in the second half. He finished the season with 173 saves, the most by a UVa goalie since 1996.

Yevoli and Christmas each scored three goals to pace the Cavalier offense. Yevoli scored a UVa freshman record 40 goals to become the first rookie to lead the ACC in goals since 1978. Christmas tallied 29 goals, the fourth-highest rookie total in school history.

Gill completes his career with 224 points, fifth in Virginia history. He is tied for second in ACC history with 146 assists.

Virginia 3-3-2-3-0-0-11
Syracuse 2-4-3-2-0-1-12att: 23,123

Shots:UVa 54SU 50

Ground balls:UVa 60SU 47

Clearing:UVa 29 of 32SU 24 of 30

Faceoffs:UVa 13SU 11

Penalties:UVa 4-2:30SU 5-4:00

Extra-Man Scoring:UVa 1 of 4SU 1 of 4

Goalie Summary:UVa- Tillman Johnson 18 saves, 12 goals, 67:28.

SU-Jay Pfeifer 19 saves, 11 goals, 67:28.

Virginia scoring (Goals-Assists):John Christmas 3-0, Joe Yevoli 3-1, Conor Gill 1-1, Jared Little 1-0, Brenndan Mohler 1-0, Chris Rotelli 1-0, A.J. Shannon 1-0.

Syracuse scoring (Goals-Assists):Michael Springer 4-2, Michael Powell 2-1, Tom Hardy 2-2, Josh Coffman 1-3, Sean Lindsay 1-0, Steve Vallone 1-0, Spencer Wright 1-0, Brian Nee 0-1.

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