Emotional Championship Bid Ends in Semis for UVA Men's Lacrosse

Duke eliminates UVA; ND beats Cornell in Final 4

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    NEWSLETTERS

    With one flick of his stick, Duke's Max Quinzani ended Virginia's gallant bid to put a positive finish on a season clouded by sadness.

    Quinzani scored the tie-breaking goal with 12 seconds left, and the Blue Devils defeated the top-seeded Cavaliers 14-13 Saturday night to advance to the NCAA men's lacrosse national championship game.

    Fifth-seeded Duke (15-4) will play unseeded Notre Dame (10-6) on Monday for the title. Notre Dame earned a berth in the finals for the first time with a 12-7 victory over Cornell.

    This was an incomparable season for the Cavaliers, for reasons that have little to do with lacrosse. Everything changed on May 3, when UVA women's player Yeardley Love was found beaten to death in her campus apartment.

    George Huguely, a senior on the men's team, has been charged with first-degree murder.

    Virginia carried on, but it wasn't easy. Not only were the Cavaliers striving for their fifth national championship, but they were also playing for Love and the women's team, which was eliminated from the NCAA tournament last week.

    All that pressure finally caught up with Virginia (16-2) in the second half against Duke.

    "It's been a fairly extraordinary spring in so many different ways," said Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia, who had a patch that read "Y.L. 1" on his shirt, a tribute to Love and her jersey number.

    "The final score may be the least important part of what has transpired here throughout the spring, really and truly," Starsia said.

    Virginia's Chris Bocklet wiped away tears as Starsia spoke. Later, the sophomore said, "It's been a very emotional season for us. This has probably been the hardest season to play in for any of us."

    "It's definitely been difficult the last month," senior Steele Stanwick said. "Playing seems to take our minds off of everything that happened. I'm not going to lie and say it's been easy."

    After Bocklet scored for the Cavaliers early in the third quarter to put Virginia up 8-5, Duke took over. Quinzani scored three times during a seven-goal blitz that made it 12-8 with 12:11 left.

    Rhamel Bratton ended the Cavaliers' scoring drought at just over 18 minutes, and two more goals made it 12-11 with 6:55 to go.

    A goal by Duke's Zach Howell blunted the comeback bid, but Stanwick answered for Virginia with 1:50 remaining, and Brian Carroll tied it at 13 with 1:21 to play.

    "We had a chance to roll over and didn't. I probably wouldn't have expected any less," Starsia said.

    Quinzani then ended the Cavaliers' hopes with his fourth goal of the game off an assist by Ned Crotty.

    "We loved the way the University of Virginia competed for 60 minutes," Blue Devils coach John Danowski said. "We thought there was a time at the end of the third quarter or early fourth quarter they were going to get a little tired. But their kids fought valiantly and fought hard and played tremendously."

    Both of Virginia's losses this season came against Duke. This one, obviously, hurt most.

    "I don't want this diminish for them what they've done this season," Starsia said.