No. 1 Virginia’s reward for winning their first-round NCAA tournament game? To play frisky No. 8 Stony Brook IN Stony Brook. So much for having an advantage. The top-seeded Cavaliers got a heck of an effort from the home team but held on for a 10-9 victory. Virginia heads back to the Final Four for the third-straight year.
They’ll take on fellow ACC squad Duke in the Final Four. The No. 4 Blue Devils defeated the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels in the newest extension of the two school’s rivalry. Duke scored four straight goals in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter and never looked back en route to a 17-9 victory.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 7 Cornell breathed a sigh of relief when Army upset No. 2 Syracuse last weekend. They took advantage of the opportunity by throttling the Black Knights 14-5. It’s Cornell’s third trip to the Final Four in four years and they’ll look to take home the title they came so close to winning last year.
They’ll have to get past Notre Dame first. The unseeded Irish were considered a controversial pick when they were added to the tournament. They’ve taken the opportunity to prove their worth and then some. They followed up their win over No. 6 Princeton with a 7-5 slugfest win over No. 3 Maryland. It’s Notre Dame’s first trip to the Final Four since 2001.
With the loss, it was another disappointing finish for a Maryland program way-too-far removed from their last championship. That’s probably a large part of why Dave Cottle resigned as Terrapins’ head coach the day following the loss. Cottle took Maryland to the Final Four three times since 2001 but did not return the program to the top of the sport.
As for the four winners, it’s on to the Final Four in Baltimore next weekend. The semifinals will take place on Saturday with the title game on Monday. For Virginia, they’re trying to win their first time in four years. Cornell is trying to win their first title since 1977. Meanwhile Duke and Notre Dame are both in search of their first titles.