Costa Mesa – In less just it’s fourth year, the Pacific Coast Shootout has become one of the most significant events in college lacrosse. Every year since 2014, Executive Director G.W. Mix has brought two of the top NCAA Division 1 teams to Orange County. Whether it be Denver upsetting No. 7 Notre Dame behind six goals from Foothill’s Erik Adamson, Maryland edging North Carolina, or Notre Dame pulling away from Maryland, the PCS has always been memorable.
However, none of those games can top Saturday night’s instant classic between Virginia and Cornell. Behind a team-high five goals from Mike D’Amario and four goals, including the game-winner from Zed Williams, the 13th ranked University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team rallied all the way back from a 6-0 deficit to beat Cornell 19-18.
The two teams crushed a PCS record with a combined 37 goals. The previous record was 18 goals, set by Maryland (10) and North Carolina (8) in 2015.
— Big Red Lacrosse (@CornellLacrosse) March 12, 2017
“Both teams never gave up. We were down two with two minutes to go, Cornell was down one with 14 seconds to go [in regulation]. That was a heroic effort on both teams parts to never give up,” Virginia coach Lars Tiffany said.
It sure didn’t look like the game was going to be close in the first quarter, as Cornell scored six consecutive goals and held Virginia scoreless in the opening quarter to take a 6-0 lead. The Cavaliers went into halftime down 9-4, but after the intermission, Virginia caught fire and outscored Big Red 9-2 to take a 13-11 lead into the fourth quarter.
At the intermission UVA trails Cornell, 9-4. pic.twitter.com/LxDbxsAbWi
— Virginia Lacrosse (@UVAMensLacrosse) March 12, 2017
The fourth quarter was back and fourth, as each time a team had a lead with the other team finding a way to take it back. Cornell led 14-13 after three consecutive goals, then Virginia scored two straight goals to go up 15-14. Big Red then scored three more goals in a row to put them up 17-15 with 3:46 remaining in regulation.
17-16 Cornell https://t.co/IAxq9AW8kh
— PacificCoastShootout (@pclaxshootout) March 12, 2017
Virginia never backed down, as it came back with two more goals from Williams and AJ Fish to tie the game. That’s when things got interesting, Williams was able to get a goal for Virginia, but Jordan Dowiak found the back of the net for Cornell with four seconds left to force overtime.
FREE LACROSSE! Cornell and Virginia are tied at 18-18 after regulation. Sudden death OT will be needed. What a time to be alive! @MaxLaxinc
— Teran Rodriguez (@TeranRodriguez1) March 12, 2017
After 1:19 had passed in the extra period, Williams got the ball from teammate Dox Aitken and was able to score, causing the Cavaliers to storm the field and embrace Williams on his heroic efforts. After the game, Williams was praised by the Virginia fans, and gave high-fives to some of the fans.
“We regrouped and we took it one goal at a time just like our coaches preached. My teammates picked me up and they always have my back, staying positive with me,” Williams said.
The Cavaliers (5-2), which improved to 2-2 in games decided by one goal, also got contributions from Ryan Conrad and Michael Kraus, who had three goals apiece. Tiffany said that the PCS was like two heavy-weight fighters that went toe-to-toe and wouldn’t get knocked down.
“I give [Cornell] Coach [Matt] Kerwick a ton of credit for bringing a group of very young men with a positive belief in their system and to compete at a really high level,” Tiffany said.
Cornell (0-4) was led by Dowiak and Jeff Teat who had five goals apiece. Clarke Petterson had four goals for Big Red and Teat chipped in four assists.
Virginia goalies Will Railey and Griffin Thompson combined for 18 saves, while Cornell goalie Christian Knight had 10 saves.
The Cavaliers play Notre Dame at home on Saturday at 6 p.m. Eastern time (3 p.m. Pacific time). Cornell plays at Yale the same day at 1 p.m. Eastern time (10 a.m. Pacific time).