Men's Lacrosse Prepares for Meeting against North Carolina
April 6, 2001
Charlottesville, Va. –
#4 Virginia (5-3, 1-0 ACC) vs. #19 North Carolina (4-4, 0-2 ACC)
April 7, 2001
The Series vs. the Tar Heels
Virginia leads the all-time series with North Carolina by a 36-22 margin. The Cavaliers’ 36 wins over the Tar Heels make the Heels third on UVa’s list of most beaten opponents (UVa has defeated Duke 44 times and Washington & Lee 42 times).
The Cavaliers have won the last six meetings vs. the Tar Heels, including both match-ups last season–a 13-7 regular season win in Chapel Hill and a 17-16 double overtime win in the ACC Tournament. The six-game winning streak is Virginia’s longest since winning 17 in a row from 1949-75.
The series goes all the way back to two meetings in 1938 (when the teams split the contests). After a brief hiatus in the series in the `50s and `60s, the teams have met every season since 1964.
The Cavaliers have had remarkable success against North Carolina in Charlottesville, winning 17 times and losing 11. Curiously, Virginia has had even better success in Chapel Hill with a 17-9 record.
The Cavaliers have won three straight games in Charlottesville against the Tar Heels (all at Kl?ckner Stadium). The Tar Heels have lost all four regular season match-ups at Kl?ckner, but they have won both meetings in the ACC Tournament.
Virginia’s six-game winning streak follows an interesting pattern. UVa’s first win in the current streak was by a wide margin (20-5), but the next game was a nailbiter won by Virginia 17-13. Virginia posted another big win (15-4) in 1998 in Chapel Hill, while the 1999 game was another tight game won by Virginia 17-14 in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers won last season’s regular season meeting by a comfortable 13-7 margin, but the Wahoos needed two overtimes to down the Tar Heels 17-16 in the ACC Tournament semifinals.
Wahoos Trounce Radford 22-3 on Tuesday
The fourth-ranked Cavaliers scored eight first-quarter goals to build a comfortable early margin and roll to a 22-3 win over home-standing Radford Tuesday afternoon.
A.J. Shannon got the Cavaliers on the board first just 40 seconds into the contest with the first of his four goals. The visiting Cavaliers scored twice more on goals by Chris Rotelli and Brenndan Mohler to build a quick 3-0 lead before the game was four minutes old. Five different players scored the game’s first six goals for Virginia before Matt Chadwick scored Radford’s first goal of the game with 4:51 left in the opening period.
Mohler scored four of his five goals in the first half, and Conor Gill had all six of his assists in Virginia’s nine-goal second quarter to put the Cavaliers ahead 17-2 at the break. Mohler, a junior, came into the game with one career goal.
Head coach Dom Starsia substituted liberally in the second half as all 36 players in uniform saw action. Led by Mohler’s five goals, six Cavaliers scored at least two goals.
Tillman Johnson started in goal for Virginia and recorded six saves before being replaced by Ryan Thompson at the start of the second half. Thompson finished with two saves and allowed one goal before he was replaced by George Greczmiel with just under nine minutes to play. Greczmiel turned back four of the five shots he faced and didn’t allow a goal.
Cavaliers Dominate Top-Ranked Maryland in 7-2 Win
Freshman goaltender Tillman Johnson recorded 16 saves, including several at point-blank range, to help #7 Virginia defeat #1 Maryland 7-2 before 2,580 fans last Saturday at Kl?ckner Stadium. Maryland’s two goals are the fewest the Terrapins have scored since falling to Army 10-1 in 1948.
Virginia’s victory marked the fourth in school history over Maryland when the Terps have been ranked #1 in the country.
The win ended Maryland’s winning streak at seven games and ended the Terps’ one-week reign atop the polls. The win was the third in a row for the Cavaliers, who improved to 4-3 overall.Senior middie Hanley Holcomb and freshman attack Justin Mullen provided the offense for Virginia, netting two goals apiece. Two of attackman Conor Gill’s four assists came on goals scored by Mullen, including the first goal of the game, which came with 10:00 remaining in the first quarter. Holcomb tallied his first goal minutes later on an unassisted, left-hand crank with 5:08 to play in the first.
Johnson held Maryland scoreless for the first 35:51 of the game, one week after he shut out Johns Hopkins during the last 33:35 of a four-overtime victory.
Maryland finally beat the Cavalier netminder on a goal by attackman Dan LaMonica with 9:09 remaining in the third period to make the score 5-1. The Cavaliers answered seven seconds, however, as midfielder David Jenkins took the faceoff, scooped up a ground ball and fed Ian Shure to wrest momentum away from the Terrapins and give the Cavaliers a 6-1 lead.
The Virginia defense kept Maryland attackman Andrew Combs in check, holding the nation’s leading scorer without a point until he scored with 26 seconds remaining on a deflected shot. Combs, who has netted 31 goals on the season, had scored at least three times in each of Maryland’s seven games.
Sophomore Ned Bowen, making his first start on close defense this season, was responsible for holding Combs in check, allowing him to score just once on six shots.
Johnson Named ACC Player of the Week
Goalie Tillman Johnson has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week for his play in the Cavaliers’ 7-2 win over then #1 Maryland on Saturday. The win was the Cavaliers’ ACC opener and prevented Maryland from claiming the ACC regular-season championship.
Johnson, a freshman from Annapolis, Md., turned in a tremendous performance against the Terrapins. He recorded 16 saves, including several from point-blank range, while giving up just two goals. He held them scoreless for the first 35 minutes of action. By the time Maryland scored its first goal, the Cavaliers had built a 5-0 lead. Maryland’s two goals were the fewest the Terps have scored in a game since 1948.
This marks the second week in a row Johnson has won a player of the week award. Last week he was named the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse.com Division I National Player of the Week for his play in UVa’s 9-8 quadruple overtime win over Johns Hopkins on March 24.
Mohler Erupts for Five Goals vs. Radford
Midfielder Brenndan Mohler had a game against Radford on Tuesday that he’s likely to remember for a long while. Known primarily for his prowess as a defensive middie, Mohler erupted vs. the Highlanders by scoring five goals to lead the Cavalier offense. The junior from Catonsville, Md., came into the game with one goal in his career.
Four of his goals came in the first half as the Cavaliers built a 17-2 halftime lead.
Mohler’s outburst is the biggest by a Cavalier since 1999 when Conor Gill scored five goals against Johns Hopkins in the national semifinals.
Gill Sets Career High for Assists
While Brenndan Mohler was finding the back of the nets five times against Radford, Conor Gill was making it possible for Mohler and his mates to score a season-high 22 goals.
In his role as offensive playmaker, Gill was spectacular vs. the Highlanders, passing for a career-high six assists (all in UVa’s nine-goal second quarter). Gill’s six assists are the most by a Cavalier since Tim Whiteley’s six vs. Harvard in the 1996 NCAA playoffs.
Gill was credited with four assists in last weekend’s win over Maryland and has had 10 assists in just the last two games.
With 26 assists, he leads the ACC in assists by a wide margin (Duke’s Alex Lieske is next with 17). His 26 assists are already tied for 27th on UVa’s all-time single-season list.
Gill has 96 career assists and stands seventh in school history. He needs just four more assists to become the sixth player in UVa history to reach the century mark.
Gill is also working his way up the all-time ACC assists list as shown below.
Player, school, years assists 14. Mike Caravana, UVa, 1980-83 104 15. Kevin Pehlke, UVa, 1991-94 101 16. Dave Hagler, Duke, 1978-80, 82 98 Michael Watson, UVa, 1994-97 98 18. CONOR GILL, UVa, 1999-pres. 96 Jack Hein, Maryland, 1965-67 96
Defense Shuts Down Opponents in Last Four
Despite starting a freshman in goal, another on close defense, as well as a sophomore and a junior on close defense, the Cavalier defense has been one of the team’s strong points all season.
Virginia is allowing an average of 7.25 goals per game this season. Syracuse’s 13 goals are the most given up by UVa this season, while Maryland’s two goals last Saturday are the fewest an opponent has scored.
In fact, Maryland’s two goals are the fewest Virginia allowed since a 21-0 shutout of Ohio State in 1999 (a span of 33 games). The two goals are also tied for the third-fewest allowed by a Dom Starsia-coached UVa team.
The defense has been especially stingy during the current four-game winning streak, allowing an average of 4.5 goals per game. The 18 goals given up in the four games is the best four-game performance by UVa since 1999 when the Cavaliers gave up 16 goals in a four-game stretch (4 by Princeton, 6 to both UMass and Rutgers, 0 to Ohio State).
Led by goalie Tillman Johnson, the defense has applied the clamps to the opposition offense since halftime of the Johns Hopkins game two weeks ago. Johnson allowed the Blue Jays to score just one goal in the final 44 minutes of the longest game in school history (4 overtimes).
Johnson shutout Maryland in the first half and didn’t allow his first goal until 9:09 remained in the third quarter (by which time Virginia led 5-0). The goal ended Johnson’s shutout string at 69:26 (final 33:35 vs. Johns Hopkins, first 35:51 to Maryland).
Johnson relinquished two goals in the first half against Radford before giving way to back-up Ryan Thompson, who started the second half. Thompson allowed one goal in a 21-minute stint before he was replaced by George Greczmiel. Greczmiel blanked the Highlanders the last nine minutes of the game.
Johnson has allowed just five goals, while making 30 saves, in his last 133:15 since the second half of the Johns Hopkins game.
Holcomb Scores in Bunches
Senior middie Hanley Holcomb scored 27 goals two years ago and was one of the unsung Cavaliers during their championship season. But last season was a trying one for the lefty from Ridgewood, N.J. Hampered for much of the season with a nagging hamstring injury, his goal output dropped to 10 as he pressed to regain his scoring touch. He scored just once in the first six games (missed two due to injury) and he failed to score more than two goals in any game.
Owner of one of the hardest shots in the game today, Holcomb has worked hard on both ends of the field during the preseason to become a more complete player and put last season behind him. An outstanding fall caught the notice of some of the preseason All-American pickers who named him to their preseason squads.
This season, Holcomb has regained his scoring touch. He notched three goals in the opener vs. Towson and has scored nine goals to rank third on the team.
It is interesting to note that Holcomb seems to score his goals in bunches. After his hat trick vs. Towson, he failed to score in the next three games. He tied his career-high with four goals against Denver and added two vs. Maryland.
The Cavaliers have been almost invincible when Holcomb turns in a multi-goal game. They are 16-1 when he scores at least twice.
Versatile Rotelli Leads UVa in Goals
Chris Rotelli has seen action at attack and in the midfield this season in order to give Virginia some scoring punch. The sophomore from Rumford, R.I., has been the lone Cavalier who has not had trouble finding the back of the net so far this season.He leads the team with 14 goals (taking just four games to top his goal total of last season) and is the only Cavalier to score a goal in every game this season. Rotelli is also third on the team with six assists and ranks second in total points (20).
Moved to the attack for the first time for the Syracuse game, Rotelli responded with a career-high three goals to lead the Cavalier attack. He turned in his second hat trick vs. Notre Dame sharing the scoring honors with A.J. Shannon.
Rotelli scored just once in the win over Denver, but he assisted on three other goals to help spread the wealth. He scored twice against Johns Hopkins including knocking home the game-tying goal with 2:35 remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.
Winning the Ground Ball War
One of the goals of the Virginia coaching staff this season has been the desire to snag more ground balls than the opposition. This season the Cavaliers are averaging 49.1 ground balls per game and have claimed more ground balls than their opponents in seven of their eight games. The only game in which Virginia lost the battle of the ground balls was the Syracuse game (a 13-7 loss).
Virginia scooped up a season-high 64 ground balls on Tuesday against Radford and is averaging 54.5 ground balls per game during the current four-game winning streak. The Cavaliers have won 29 of their last 31 games dating back to 1998 when snapping up at least 50 ground balls.Face-off specialist David Jenkins leads the team with 57 ground balls, which isn’t unusual since he’s led the team the last two years.
All-American defenseman Mark Koontz is second on the team–and the leader among the long sticks–with 41 ground balls. It’s also not unusual to see Koontz leading the way since he was tops among UVa’s long sticks a year ago. Goalie Tillman Johnson has scooped up 34 ground balls, attackman Conor Gill and rookie defenseman Brett Hughes have snagged 30 each.
Endowed Lacrosse Scholarship Established in Rixey’s Name
The Virginia Student Aid Foundation (VSAF) has announced the Thomas C. Rixey Endowed Memorial Lacrosse Scholarship in memory of former Cavalier lacrosse player Tom Rixey.
Rixey, a 1984 UVa graduate with a degree in history, died in 1986 following complications after suffering an asthma attack. At the time he was working in Atlanta and was the goalie for the Atlanta Lacrosse Club.
He came to the university from Norfolk Academy, where he led the Bulldogs to two state championships and their first undefeated season. He was named high school All-American two years to become Norfolk Academy’s first All-American.
At Virginia Rixey was a goalie on the lacrosse team and helped the Cavaliers compile a 39-12 record during his career. The team won ACC championships in 1983 and 1984 and was invited to the NCAA Tournament all four years.
After his death, the UVa lacrosse team began giving the spirit award in his honor. It is quite a tribute to him that his friends have joined together to honor him with the establishment of a fully funded lacrosse scholarship.
Starsia Closes in on Rare Coaching Feat
With each victory, Virginia head coach Dom Starsia moves closer to several coaching milestones. In 19 seasons as a collegiate head coach at Brown and UVa, Starsia has fashioned a 198-78 record and is the seventh-winningest active Division I coach. He needs just two wins to join the select group of coaches with 200+ career wins.
In his ninth year at the helm of the Virginia program, Starsia’s Cavalier squads have compiled a 97-32 overall record. Starsia needs just three more victories to become only the second coach in school history to win 100 games. Jim Adams won a school-record 137 games (and lost 60) at Virginia from 1978-92.
Starsia won 101 games in 10 seasons at Brown and as he closes in on 200 career victories, he is also drawing nearer to becoming only the third coach in college history (as best as we can tell) to win 100-or-more games at two different schools.
A look at the coaches who have won 100+ games at two different schools are listed below. It is interesting to note that the two coaches with 100+ wins at two schools are both still coaching.
Head coach first school second schoolJack Emmer Wash. & Lee, 108-47 (`73-83) Army, 145-103 (`84-pres.)Dave Urick Hobart, 122-30 (`80-89) Georgetown, 112-46 (`90-pres.)Dom Starsia Brown, 101-46 (`83-92) Virginia, 97-32 (`93-pres.)