CHARLOTTESVILLE —- The star of Virginia’s 13-12 NCAA tournament defeat of Bucknell on Sunday was Steele Stanwick. He had three goals and five assists, and played every bit like the ACC player of the year and a possible first team All-American.
But the most crucial moment of the game’s closing stages came at the other end of the field.
Virginia trailed 12-10 and opted to bring goalie Adam Ghitelman out of the cage on a few occasions to create pressure on Bucknell. The Bison, aware of the Cavaliers’ willingness to keep him out even when the ball was in the other end, had defenseman John Collett send a three-quarter field heave that zipped by the goal. A Bucknell attackman proceeded to cover the end line, assuming it would be ruled a shot.
Except it wasn’t, and Virginia closed with 12-11 just 22 seconds later.
“Well, since we have a call for an open goal shot and we called zero, which is zero people in the goal, and our defenseman looked up and shot it as hard as he could, I know for a fact it was a shot,” Bucknell coach Frank Fedorjaka said. “But it’s not up to me. It’s up to the judgment of the officials.”
In the end, it was a costly judgment for the Bison (14-3), who came within minutes of reaching the quarterfinals for the first time in program history.
—- Patrick Stevens