- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

TOWSON, Md. Ever since blowing a four-goal, fourth-quarter lead against Hofstra in the first round of last year's NCAA men's lacrosse tournament, Virginia has focused on finishing games.
Yesterday, seventh-ranked Towson felt the brunt of the Cavaliers' newfound attention.
Third-ranked Virginia broke open a tie game with five consecutive fourth-quarter goals to drop the Tigers 13-8 before a sleet- and snow-soaked 2,305 at Minnegan Stadium.
The win capped an exceptional eight days of lacrosse for Virginia, which beat defending national champion Princeton on March 9 and Final Four participant Notre Dame last Tuesday. Virginia now has played all of the NCAA semifinalists from a year ago, with its only loss of the season coming to national runner-up Syracuse 15-13.
"Our teams in the past, we've given up games in the fourth quarter," Virgnia defenseman Mark Koontz said. "This year we want it to be our strongest quarter."
Freshmen Jared Little, Joel Yevoli and John Christmas scored two goals apiece, and sophomore goalie Tillman Johnson recorded 11 saves for the Cavaliers (4-1). Christmas added an assist, while two-time All-American Conor Gill registered three assists. Chris Rotelli, Brendan Mohler and A.J. Shannon each scored two goals for Virginia. Shannon also had two assists.
"It was a really tough stretch for [a young team]," Virgnia coach Dom Starsia said. "Can we have a day off please?"
Not likely. Johns Hopkins, which should move up to No. 1 after dropping top-ranked Syracuse on Saturday, visits Charlottesville on Saturday. Then the Cavaliers will face Maryland in College Park in two weeks for the Cavaliers' ACC opener.
"It's all the same; every game is big," Christmas said. "There is no small game."
Towson (2-2) did not challenge Virginia in the final 15 minutes and managed just three shots despite having arguably the most potent offense in the nation. The Cavaliers scored three times in the first seven minutes of the quarter, giving Virginia its biggest lead of the day.
Towson's vaunted attack was blanketed. Brad Reppert scored just twice and Kyle Campbell once. Ryan Obloj was shut out but did have two assists.


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