HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Virginia’s midseason was defined by an uncharacteristic rough patch.
The Cavaliers still found a way to their outcome – a place on Memorial Day weekend.
Steele Stanwick had three goals and four assists as seventh-seeded Virginia upended second-seeded Cornell 13-9 in the NCAA quarterfinals at Shuart Stadium to advance to its fourth straight semifinal appearance.
Adam Ghitelman made 13 saves for the Cavaliers (11-5), who will meet Johns Hopkins or Denver in Baltimore on Saturday.
It was the Cavaliers’ first victory as a lower seed in the postseason since winning the 2003 national title game.
Virginia won largely because of Stanwick’s standout play, but also with the help of a defense that disconnected Cornell star Rob Pannell from the rest of the Big Red offense. Pannell had three goals for Cornell (14-3), but was held without an assist in his second straight game against Virginia.
The early credit for handling Pannell went to defenseman Bray Malphrus. But after the Cavaliers turned a 4-1 deficit into a 10-4 halftime edge, they floated back into the zone defense they’ve used frequently since the loss of Matt Lovejoy for the season in April and thoroughly confounded the Big Red.
– Patrick Stevens