Bocklet's Career Day Helps No. 1 Virginia Cruise to Victory over Robert Morris
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Chris Bocklet tallied career highs with six goals and three assists, as the No. 1 Virginia men’s lacrosse team (14-1) concluded the regular season slate victorious over the nation’s top-ranked offense, topping the Robert Morris Colonials (9-5) 18-9 on Saturday afternoon, inside Klöckner Stadium on Senior Day.
Robert Morris entered the game averaging 15.31 goals per game, best in the nation. The Colonials trailed UVa by only three goals, 8-5, at the intermission but the Cavaliers held the Colonials in check in the third period, outscoring RMU 6-0 and taking a 14-5 advantage. It was the first time all season Robert Morris was shut out in a period.
UVa won a few team battles, including shots (46-38), ground balls (43-35) and faceoffs (20-11) and the Cavaliers also had fewer turnovers (15-21). Virginia was perfect on the extra-man (3-of-3), while RMU failed on its only extra-man situation in the fourth quarter.
“That was a good win,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “We sort of played the first half the way we practiced on Wednesday, and then played the second as we practiced on Thursday. I thought we just got a little sharper as the week went on. It was a tale of two halves – I was very pleased with how we came out of the locker room after the second half especially. Mostly it was kids picking the ball up off the ground. I felt Mikey Thompson got us going, and it felt like we got every ground ball in the second half and that was what set us apart.”
UVa staked itself to an early 4-1 lead, prompting Robert Morris head coach Bear Davis to switch Charles Ruppert in favor of Dillon Pope in goal. Matt White (Ridgefield, Conn.) connected on a Shamel Bratton (Huntington Station, N.Y.) pass to start the streak at 13:12. Bocklet (South Salem, N.Y.) tallied his first goal of his career day at 11:16 on a White helper.
Taylor Caparosa deposited an unassisted score for Robert Morris in the middle of the run at 8:35. After Ken Clausen (Downington, Pa.) created a turnover, Ryan Nizolek (Madison, Conn.) ran the break and found Thompson (Richmond, Va.) to score at 7:22. Virginia won the ensuing faceoff and in the midst of the offense, Bocklet found a wide-open Shamel Bratton who scored one-on-one from eight yards away at 6:40. Robert Morris proceeded to call a timeout and Pope did not return to the cage for Robert Morris.
Robert Morris answered UVa’s run with two-straight goals. Kiel Matisz cored at 5:26, followed by an unassisted goal by Taylor Graves at 4:25. Virginia capped the first quarter scoring on a Bocklet to White goal at 3:33, putting UVa up 5-3 after one quarter of play.
Virginia scored the first two goals of the second quarter to take the 7-3 advantage. Rhamel Bratton (Huntington Station, N.Y.) scored unassisted at 10:23, followed up by a man-up score by Bocklet, via Brian Carroll (Towson, Md.) after RMU’s Kyle Buchanan was whistled for tripping.
Keith Lee and Kiel Matisz scored back-to-back goals to cut the RMU deficit down to two goals, 7-5, but Rhamel Bratton picked up a ground ball and rifled home his second goal of the quarter with three seconds remaining. The score sent UVa into the break with the three-goal lead, 8-5.
Bocklet scored the next four goals for Virginia, helping pace the 6-0 UVa third quarter spurt, and a 7-0 overall run to open up the second half. Bocklet scored on assists from Rhamel Bratton at 14:20, Garett Ince (Oakville, Ontario) at 14:08, Shamel Bratton at 9:57 and Steele Stanwick (Baltimore, Md.) at 7:35. White broke the Bocklet goal streak at 7:35 with a score. But it was Bocklet’s fifth-straight point as the sophomore registered the assist. John Haldy (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) capped the third quarter scoring on a Nick O’Reilly (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) helper.
Virginia started the fourth quarter with a goal by Tim Fuchs (Merrick, N.Y.) at 13:37 on a pass from Shamel Bratton, pushing the UVa advantage to 15-5. RMU finally broke through in the scoring column at 10:21 when Patrick Smith scored unassisted, breaking a scoreless streak of 23:09. Kevin Brownell scored at 9:30 to cut the RMU deficit to 15-7.
Matt Kugler (Fairfax Station, Va.) scored unassisted on the open net during a 10-man ride by RMU. Fuchs followed up with his second goal at 4:42 on a pass from Matt Cockerton (Oshawa, Ontario) to give UVa the 17-7 advantage.
Buchanan (3:17) and Matisz (1:24) scored the final two goals for RMU, while Kugler found the open net again with 48 seconds left to bring the game to a close at 18-9.
Clausen registered a career-high seven caused turnovers on the nation’s best offense. Bray Malphrus (Chevy Chase, Md.) caused three turnovers while Nizolek, Stanwick and Thompson all caused two turnovers apiece, as UVa caused 19 of RMU’s 21 turnovers. Ince led UVa with five ground balls, while winning 11-of-14 faceoffs. Adam Ghitelman (Syosset, N.Y.) saved seven shots and allowed seven goals in 52 minutes of work between the pipes.
Buchanan led RMU with eight ground balls, while Rob Laughner caused three turnovers. Ruppert saved 11 shots and allowed 14 goals after coming on in relief of Pope in the cage. Pope saved only one shot, while allowing four goals.
Prior to the game, 13 members of the UVa lacrosse program who were playing their final regular season home game were honored. Will Bolton, Brian Carroll, Kevin Carroll, Clausen, Rob Eimer, Todd Faiella, Fuchs, George Huguely, Brian McDermott, Nizolek, Max Pomper, Thompson and manager Peter Krawczyk were the honorees.
“I think it is a little melancholy for these guys – it being their last regular season game,” said Starsia. “It clearly adds to the emotion, and makes it a little more difficult overall. I think we were motivated in getting ready to play a good team. Robert Morris was a little better than everyone had expected, and it was a complicated day in some ways. The senior group is a really special group, but I was glad that we got the win. We’ve had a tremendous regular season, and I think that we have a lot to be proud.”
Virginia will next await its destiny in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Division I Selection show will be May 9 and televised live on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m. The first round of the NCAA Tournament will commence May 15-16 at home sites of the top eight seeds.
Robert Morris 3-2-0-4-9
Scoring (G-A) – RM: Kiel Matisz 3-1, Kevin Brownell 1-2, Kyle Buchanan 1-1, Patrick Smith 1-0, Taylor Caparosa 1-0, Taylor Graves 1-0, Keith Lee 1-0, Trevor Moore 0-1.V: Chris Bocklet 6-3, Matt White 3-1, Rhamel Bratton 2-1, Tim Fuchs 2-0, Matt Kugler 2-0, Shamel Bratton 1-3, Nick O’Reilly 0-2, John Haldy 1-0, Mikey Thompson 1-0, Brian Carroll 0-1, Garrett Ince 0-1, Ryan Nizolek 0-1, Steele Stanwick 0-1.
Goalie Summary – RM: Charles Ruppert 51:40 mins., 11 saves, 14 goals allowed, Dillon Pope 8:20 mins., 1 save, 4 goals allowed. V: Adam Ghitelman 52:00 mins. 7 saves, 7 goals allowed, Rob Fortunado 4:43 mins., 2 saves, 1 goal allowed, Rob Eimer 2:21 mins., 1 save, 1 goal allowed, Will Bolton 0:56 mins., 1 save, 0 goals allowed.
Shots: RM-38, V-46
Ground Balls: RM-35, V-43
Clearing: RM-13×19, V-26×28
Faceoffs: RM-11, V-20
Penalties: RM-3-3:00, V-1-0:30
EMO: RM-0x1, V-3×3