It was mostly Pomper's decision.
The fifth-year senior leveled Braddish on a hit with 12:05 left in the third quarter, and Braddish, a freshman making his second career start, sat out the rest of the game. He got the wind knocked out of him and a leg injury, according to UNC coach Joe Breschi.
The hit, which did not draw a penalty, epitomized the physical nature of top-ranked Virginia's grind-it-out 7-5 victory over No. 2 North Carolina at the Big City Classic. It also was no coincidence that both players involved were Long Islanders. The annual tri-state lacrosse festival, the first event for paying spectators held at the new stadium, was filled with local players.
It was only a matter of time until they played their version of bumper cars on the field.
"It's a Long Island fest out there, which is nice to have," Pomper said before adding that Virginia and North Carolina guys "really actually do get along off the field."
North Carolina has 10 Long Island players, including Gavin Petracca of Manhasset, who assisted on the Tar Heels' third goal. Petracca's brother James also is a Tar Heel. Virginia has three sets of Long Island brothers - twins Shamel and Rhamel Bratton (Huntington), Adam and Jacob Ghitelman (Cold Spring Harbor) and Pomper and his younger brother Brian.
Their family and friends were well represented in the stands, as the announced crowd of 25,710 for the three games - the largest crowd for a regular-season lacrosse- only event - filled a significant portion of the lower level of the new building.
"I was blown away by the old Meadowlands, and this new one really surpasses that by far," said Hofstra's Steven DeNapoli, a Hewlett alum. "All the big screens, the big stadium, the new turf, it's unreal."
Hofstra's Stephen Bentz (Massapequa) scored two goals, his 21st and 22nd of the season, and had two assists in the No. 10 Pride's 12-11 win over Delaware. His second goal came on a man-up opportunity with 27 seconds left in the first half to tie the score at 7. Seven seconds later, John Antoniades (St. Anthony's) assisted Jay Card to give Hofstra the lead for good at 8-7.
Antoniades, the Pride's faceoff man, rebounded from a tough start in the circle to win 5 of 10 draws in the second half.
John Austin of Shoreham-Wading River gave Delaware a 6-5 lead 6:21 before halftime.
In winning the first collegiate game at the new stadium, Hofstra became a future trivia question answer. But the achievement seemed lost on its players.
"I didn't even think of that. It's pretty cool.'' Bentz said. "It's definitely an honor in a great stadium like this."
In the finale, Garden City's Rob Engelke assisted on St. Anthony's Mike Chanenchuk's second-period goal for Princeton in a 13-4 loss to Syracuse. Chanenchuk added a second goal in the fourth quarter to end a 30-minute scoring drought for the Tigers.