HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. —- It is perhaps a bit ridiculous to suggest Virginia is a better team without the Bratton brothers, even if the Cavaliers have won three straight since Shamel Bratton was dismissed from the team and Rhamel Bratton was suspended indefinitely. Both, after all, are solid talents, and Shamel Bratton was a two-time All-America pick.
It is no stretch, though, to argue the Cavaliers are a different team —- as evidenced again Saturday when seventh-seeded Virginia handled second-seeded Cornell 13-9 in the NCAA quarterfinals.
“They share the ball a little more,” Cornell coach Ben DeLuca said. “The ball is in Steele Stanwick‘s stick a little more, which benefits their offense. No offense to the Brattons. I think they’re wonderful players and they cause us headaches in preparation for them as well in terms of their dodging ability and ability to break down the defense. But their other players really stepped up or were empowered by the loss of the Brattons or by the absence of the Brattons. They share the load a little bit more.”
Stanwick had seven points, and Chris Bocklet got three goals. But the Cavaliers also received three-point days from Nick O’Reilly and Matt White, plus a goal and an assist from Rob Emery —- a guy playing on the first midfield only because of the Brattons’ absence.
“They’ve got talent up and down the roster,” DeLuca said. “They have fantastic players. I don’t think there’s a lack of playmakers or athletes on their roster.”
—- Patrick Stevens