Virginia Prepares for Mercyhurst
Mar. 2, 1998
IN ITS LAST GAME , UVa(0-1, 0-0 ACC) played Syracuse (lost 18-17 in overtime) February 28 in the 1998 season opener. Mercyhurst’s last game was an 11-6 win over Wittenburg in the 1997 season closer. IN THE SERIES, UVa leads the Lakers(0-0) (1-0 in 1997). The Cavaliers are 1-0 at home(27-2 win in 1997, IN THE NEXT GAME, UVa plays Princeton(March 7, at 2:00 PM at UVa’s Turf Field. Mercyhurst plays at Drexel March 7.
THE COACH. UVa’s head coach Dom Starsia heads into his sixth season, and he hails from Brown University, where he had coached for ten years. He now has a 159-66(70.7%) career record, including 58-20(74.4%) at UVa. Ironically, his first college foe as a head coach here was a team whose name began with the letter V–Virginia(a 10-6 Brown loss at Hofstra), and his first game at UVa was against another V-team, Villanova(21-6 win). Starsia is 19-17 vs. the ACC(1-6 vs. UVa, 7-2 vs. Duke, 6-5 vs. UNC, and 5-4 vs. Maryland). He is 6-5 vs. the Ivy League since coming to UVa(2-5 vs. Princeton, 2-0 vs. Brown,1-0 vs. Harvard, and 1-0 vs. Penn). Starsia is twice a winner of the Morris Touchstone award(Division I Coach of the Year, 1985 and 1991). His 100th win came in 1992, when his Bruins topped Cornell to wrap up an NCAA bid. His Brown teams were Ivy League champions twice(1985 and 1991) and went to the NCAA’s four of his last six seasons(he is 9-10 overall in NCAA play). He has a 48-23 record vs. Ivy league teams, including 6-5 while at UVa. He had never played lacrosse prior to attending Brown. In 1992, Starsia was honored by the Rhode Island Organization of Sportswriters and Sportscasters with the Frank Lanning Award(lifetime achievement of overall contribution to the Rhode Island sports community). Starsia was named ACC co-Coach of the year for 1995, and he was picked as the 1997 ACC Coach of the Year. Four of his five UVa squads have finished the regular season in first place in the ACC.
RANKINGS: The pre-season polls put UVa in third behind Syracuse(second). Princeton is a consensus number one in the pre-season. Mercyhust is not rated. In last year’s final poll, UVa was second, and Syracuse was third.
UVA vs. NUMBER ONE: UVa has often played the number one ranked team in the ratings. Syracuse March2 in 1996 was number one(as was Princeton in the 1996 finals–May 27). The last number one team that UVa played was in a 14-13 loss to Princeton on March 8, 1997(and prior to 1996 it was in 1995(Syracuse on March 14, 1995, when UVA won at Syracuse 15-7). The last time a number one team played UVA at home was UNC in 1993, April 10, when UVa rallied from a four-goal deficit to beat the top-ranked Tar Heels on April 10, 1993, 13-12 on a Kevin Pehlke goal 1:13 in overtime at Scott Stadium. Princeton was ranked number one before the finals in 1996. Princeton was ranked first in 1997 when the Cavaliers played the Tigers.
UVA AS NUMBER ONE: UVa has been number one on a number of occasions, the last of which was much of March in 1996(March 23, after the Johns Hopkins game) . In 1996, UVa defended its top spot with a 12-9 win over Princeton, followed by a 16-15 overtime win at Hofstra with Brown and a 15-9 win over UMass. Plus JHU, 14-9, then Radford 23-3, and then lost it after bowing to Maryland(13-11 loss, March 30, 1996).
THE STARTING LINEUP at pre-season looks like the following— Drew McKnight(22+20=42 in ’97), Jay Jalbert(19+4=23),and Tucker Radebaugh(24+11=35) on attack; David Wren(26+6=32), Drew Melchionni(12+7=1), and Hanley Holcomb(Salisbury School, and Ridgewood, NJ) on midfield; and Penn Leachman(0 ), Ryan Curtis(0), and John Harvey(St. George’s School, and Darien, CT). The goalie should be Chris Sanderson(146 saves and 118 goals allowed). The faceoff man used the most often should be Jason Hard(176 of 285. 61.8%). Pater Ragosa(2nd, Deerfield Academy and Milton, MA) is the first long stick defender on the field). Holcomb missed the Syracuse game due to illness. Curtis may have to miss today’s game with an injury. Michael Leahy(4+3=7 in 1997) started in Holcomb’s place.
For 1998 NEW FACES, watch for John Harvey(D, St. George’s School and Darien, CT); Hanley Holcomb(M, Salisbury School and Ridgewood, NJ); David Jenkins(M, Taft School and Dedham, MA); James Kenny(M, Garden City HS and Garden City, NY); Evan Mancini(M, Hotchkiss School and Gulph Mills, PA); Jamison Mullen(A, St. Mary’s HS and Annapolis, MD); Ian Shure(A, Boy’s Latin School and Lutherville, MD); and Aaron Vercollonne(M, Boy’s Latin School and Lutherville, MD). There will also be a transfer from Tufts(with three years of eligibility remaining): Court Weisleder(D, the Taft School via Tufts, and Bay Head, NJ).
SEASON OPENERS had been solidly UVa until 1997. UVa had won its previous 14 season openers, before losing at Syracuse 22-21 in February of 1997. UVa has won 15 of its last 17 home openers (Princeton,1994, 14-6 loss; and Syracuse).
Where HOME WAS A BIT OF HEAVEN for UVa in 1993(9-0 at home), UVa only posted a 4-3 mark at home in 1994. In 1993 UVa was 1-5 on the road. BUT, in 1994, the reverse was true. UVa played ten games away from home and won nine of them. UVa had not done anything like that since 1952(that year, UVa won its first national championship). In 1994, UVa was 4-3 at home and 9-1 away from Charlottesville. In 1995, UVa won all eight home games. UVa had won 15 straight games at home(UNC, ACC finals in 1994, 15-7). UVa finished with a 6-1 home record in 1996. UVa finished 7-0 at home in 1997(also the current home win string. Starsia is 34-4 at home at UVa(Princeton, Duke, North Carolina twice).
In 1997 NCAA FINAL STATS: UVa had some entries. Doug Knight was fifth in points per game(5.14), 23rd in goals per game(2.79),and eighth in assists per game(2.38). Michael Watson was 19th in points per game(4.43) and 14th in assists per game(2.14). Goalie Chris Sanderson was 28th in save %(55.3%) and 18th in goals against average(10.26). The team was first in scoring offense(18.21), 14th in scoring defense(9.71), and first in scoring margin(8.50).
In FINAL 1997 ACC STATISTICS: UVa had players ranked as follows: Doug Knight was first in scoring per game(5.14), second in goals per game(2.79), and first in assists per game(2.38). Michael Watson was second in points per game(4.43), fourth in goals per game(2.29), and fourth in assists per game(2.14). David Curry was third in goals per game(2.36). Chris Sanderson is fourth in save %(55.3%) and second in goals/against average(10.26). As a team, UVa is first in scoring(18.21), second in scoring defense(9.71), and first in scoring margin(8.5)
SCORING in each of the last four seasons is up. In 1994 five games saw UVa offense at or over the 20-goal mark, a UVa record. The team figure of 255 goals in 1997 had not previously been topped(1972, 213 was the old mark). The per-game average was 15 goals per game, and the UVa mark was 16.1(1982). UVa averaged 17.5 goals per game in 1995(another school mark and the top figure in Division I in the NCAA). In 1994, UVa scored 51 goals 30 seconds or less following a faceoff. In 1995, UVa scored 57 goals in the first 30 seconds following faceoffs. In 1996, UVa scored 42 goals in the first 30 seconds after faceoffs. And in 1997, UVa scored 34 goals within 30 seconds of a faceoff. In 1996, UVa had runs of 5, 5, 5 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9 10, 10, 11,11, and 22(vs. Radford). In 1997, UVa had runs of 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 8, 9, 9, 9, 12, 13, and 16(Mercyhurst and Bucknell). The consecutive goals scored record is 24 vs. Radford in 1995. In 1998, UVa has scored twice in under 30 second goal situations UVa opened its 1995 and 1996 seasons with two straight 20-goal games, a school record. UVa scored more than 20 goals in five games in 1995 and 1997, which tied the school mark(1994). UVa did not score fewer than 10 goals in a game in 1995 or 1996(a record). UVa’s 273 goals in 1996 was a new team mark. UVA had a school-record string of 44 straight games having scored 10 or more goals in a game snapped by Maryland in the NCAA quarterfinals in 1997. It was the longest such streak in ACC history. The string began in 1995, with the season-opener with Navy 24-13. During that string, UVa exceeded 10 goals 44 times, topped 20 goals 14 times, and surpassed the 30 goal mark three times(including the school mark of 38, set vs. VMI in 1996). UVa has scored 20 goals in a game 63 times(including 21 times under Starsia). UVa’s 1997 average of 18.21 goals per game and scoring margin of 8.50 goals per game were not only school records but also NCAA leading marks for 1997..
MORE FIRSTS: UVa played its first men’s lacrosse games under the Kl