- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2002

BALTIMORE Conor Gill's feeding ability and field vision have been unparalleled in college lacrosse the last four years.
Yesterday, he put that into numbers. Gill set an NCAA tournament record for assists in a game with nine and propelled Virginia to its third Final Four in four years with an 11-10 win over Cornell in the NCAA Division I men's quarterfinals at Homewood Field.
Third-seeded Virginia (11-3) will play second-seeded Syracuse (13-2) in the national semifinals at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J.
"We were going to do anything we could to get back," said Gill, a two-time first-team all-American who led the ACC in assists the past three seasons and added a goal yesterday. "The lanes were open, and I saw the guys pretty easily and I kind of got in that zone where I can get the ball behind and things would open up pretty easily."
In the first quarterfinal here, Massachusetts overcame a six-goal halftime deficit and forced overtime against top-seeded Johns Hopkins. But the Blue Jays, as they have done all season, stayed composed and resilient and won 13-12 on Adam Doneger's fifth goal 1:19 into the extra session.
Hopkins (12-1), playing on its home field, improved to 6-0 in one-goal games this season and will play defending national champion and fourth-seeded Princeton (9-4) in the other semifinal Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Rutgers.
For the first time in NCAA tournament history, all four quarterfinals were decided by one goal.
Massachusetts (12-4), led by Chris Fiore's four goals, erased an 8-2 halftime deficit and took a 10-8 lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter. Hopkins reeled off four straight and led 12-10 with 4:08 to play, but the Minutemen scored twice in the final 25 seconds to force overtime.
Virginia looked like it would blow out Cornell after it built an 8-3 lead 3:05 into the second half. But the Big Red fought back and tied the game at 9-9 with 10:31 to play. The teams traded goals before Virginia freshman Joe Yevoli made arguably the biggest play of his young career with 3:59 to go. Yevoli already had four goals all on feeds from Gill, who had a hand in Virginia's first 10 goals.
Yevoli beat his man behind the net and sprinted toward the cage. Known as a finisher, Yevoli drew a slide by the crease and dumped the ball to fellow freshman John Christmas, who nailed the game-winner a split second later.
"I caught the ball and was looking for an outlet," said Yevoli, the ACC rookie of the year. "I lost my man and went to the cage. The slide came, and I saw John with his stick [ready to shoot], and he stuck it."
Cornell had opportunites to tie but never got a clean shot. Virginia defenseman Dave Burman, who has played sparingly as of late, checked Scott Lee's stick with 15 seconds left to seal the win.
The game pitted arguably the top two goalies in the nation, with Virginia's Tillman Johnson and Cornell's Justin Cynar going head to head. Neither disappointed, and both stopped 10 shots.
"At 8-3, I thought we were in really good shape," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia, who has led Virginia to six Final Fours, including the 1999 national title. "Our confidence got a little shot. We talked about taking a deep breath in timeouts. We got a little rattled during the course of the game, but we made some plays at the end and won an awfully important game for our program."


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide