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April 12, 2001

Charlottesville, Va. –

#9 Virginia (5-4, 1-1 ACC) vs. #15 Duke (7-4, 1-1 ACC)

April 14, 2001
1:00 p.m.
Koskinen Stadium
Durham, N.C.

Cavaliers Have Sights Set on Top SeedVirginia can clinch the top seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament with a win over Duke on Saturday. A win would boost the Cavaliers’ ACC record to 2-1 and tie them with Maryland for first place. Virginia would get the top seed by virtue of its win over Maryland last month. A loss would drop the Cavaliers to 1-2 in the ACC, the same record as North Carolina. The Tar Heels would get the third seed and Virginia the fourth due to their win over UVa last weekend.

If Virginia defeats Duke the Cavaliers would play North Carolina at 6:00 p.m. on April 20 in the first round of the ACC Tournament at the Disney Complex in Orlando, Fla. Maryland and Duke would square off at 8:30 p.m. in the other first round game.

If Virginia loses to Duke the Cavaliers would face Maryland in the first first round game, while Duke and North Carolina would play in the nightcap.

The ACC Finals are April 22 at 2:30 p.m. They will be televised by Comcast Sports Net (formerly HTS.)

The Series vs. the Blue Devils
Virginia leads the all-time series with Duke by a 44-13 margin. The Cavaliers have defeated Duke more than other other team in school history.

The men in orange and blue have also had remarkable success in Durham, posting an 18-8 record on the Blue Devils’ home turf through the years. The Cavaliers’ 18 wins at Duke are their second-most wins on an opponent’s home field. They have won 23 games at Washington & Lee.

The Cavaliers have won the last three meetings overall and eight of the last nine against the Blue Devils.

Virginia won both games against Duke last season–a 12-7 win in Charlottesville during the regular season and a 10-9 win in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament at Johns Hopkins.

The Cavaliers’ five-goal win over Duke in last season’s regular season contest goes against the recent history of a series that has been characterized by close games. Five of the last six games between the two have been decided by two goals or less (with Virginia winning four of the five).

Duke’s only win over Virginia in the last five years was a 10-9 win in overtime two years ago in the most recent game played in Durham.

It is interesting to note that Duke has done a good job of containing Virginia’s offense lately. The Blue Devils have been the stingiest ACC team against Virginia since 1998, allowing the Cavaliers to score an average of 10.3 goals per game. Duke has held UVa to 12 goals or less in the last seven games, a feat not matched by Maryland or North Carolina.

Similarly, Virginia has held the Duke offense in check, giving up fewer than 12 goals in seven straight games.

Higher Ranked Cavaliers Do Well vs. Duke
Virginia comes into this game ranked ninth in this week’s USILA poll, while the Blue Devils are ranked 15th. This season has been unpredictable for both squads, who each find themselves ranked lower than they they have been the last few years when both have frequently been ranked in the top five or six spots. In fact UVa is ranked as low as ever under head coach Dom Starsia.

In the series vs. Duke, the Cavaliers have more often been the higher ranked team. Since 1972 Virginia has been ranked higher than Duke in 25 of 28 meetings (several meetings occurred prior to the first poll of the season).

Even though Virginia is the higher ranked team in this match-up, it’s curious to note that this is the lowest ranking for Virginia in the series. UVa’s previous low rank was a #7 (several times, but most recently in 1998). Duke is ranked its lowest since being ranked 20th for the 1991 meeting.

Starsia no doubt hopes that history holds true for this game as Virginia has had remarkable success against Duke when being ranked higher than the Blue Devils. The Cavaliers are 21-4 (.840) vs. Duke when they’re the higher ranked team.

Virginia is even more successful when playing in Durham, posting a 9-1 record against lower ranked Duke squads. (The lone loss came in 1987.)

More Poll Potpourri
As mentioned above, the Cavaliers are ranked higher than Duke (#9 vs. #15) in the current poll. Being the higher ranked team has been good news for the Cavaliers recently, especially when playing on the road. Since 1998 Virginia has won 10 consecutive games on opponents’ home fields as the higher ranked team since dropping a 10-9 decision to Maryland in the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

Virginia is 25-8 under head coach Dom Starsia when playing as the higher ranked team on the road since 1993.

Tar Heels Down Virginia 7-5
The 19th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels scored four of the game’s last six goals to upset #4 Virginia 7-5 at Kl?ckner Stadium last Saturday.

In a defensive struggle, the two teams went into halftime tied at two. North Carolina took the lead on a goal by Steven Will with 13:32 remaining in the third quarter, but Virginia answered by netting two goals to take a 4-3 advantage. Conor Gill scored the first on a wraparound from the right side with 6:00 left in the quarter. Chris Rotelli gave the Cavaliers their only lead as he beat UNC goalie Kris Blindenbacher with some nifty stickwork in front 39 seconds later.

The Tar Heels roared back, however, with three unanswered goals to built a two-goal cushion. Mac Hammer knotted the score at 4-all with 38 seconds remaining in the third period. Will scored what proved to be the game winner with 7:20 left to play on a scramble in front. Cavalier goalie Tillman Johnson made the initial save, but couldn’t control the ball. Andy Jonas scooped up the loose ball and fed Will for his second goal of the game.

Jeff Sonke tallied his second goal of the afternoon with 2:18 to play in what looked like a sure clincher for the Tar Heels. North Carolina committed an illegal procedure violation with less than 1:30 to go giving Virginia a key possession. Rotelli took the ball off the restart, raced down the field and netted a shot that skimmed along the grass with 1:05 left to play.

David Jenkins won the ensuing faceoff giving the Cavaliers one final possession but Blindenbacher deflected Gill’s shot point blank shot with 29 seconds left as UNC controlled the loose ball. North Carolina defenseman Bobby Gormsen closed out the game’s scoring with his first of the year with 10 seconds remaining.

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 198-79 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 97-33 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 known 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, 146-104 (`84-pres.)Dave Urick           Hobart, 122-30 (`80-89)         Georgetown, 113-46 (`90-pres.)Dom Starsia          Brown, 101-46 (`83-92)          Virginia, 97-33 (`93-pres.)

Gill Sets Career High for Assists in a Game
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.

It’s not surprising to see that how Gill goes, so goes the Virginia offense. He was brilliant in the upset over then #1 Maryland with four assists in the 7-2 win.

Last weekend against North Carolina he had a goal and an assist, but it wasn’t enough to boost a sluggish offensive performance that resulted in a 7-5 loss.

With 27 assists, he is second in the nation and leads the ACC by a wide margin. Gill’s 27 assists are already tied for 25th on UVa’s all-time single-season list.

Gill has 97 career assists and stands seventh in school history. He needs just three 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.   97

Jenkins Needs Three Wins to Move to Third
For the last three years David Jenkins and Jason Hard shared UVa’s face-offs responsibilities and gave Dom Starsia the luxury of having two outstanding face-off specialists. In fact, both were ranked in the top 10 in the nation the last two seasons. But with Hard’s graduation, Jenkins has taken most of the team’s draws this season.

So far this season Jenkins has won 60.3 percent of his draws (88 of 146).

He had one of his best games of the season in the win over Johns Hopkins, winning 14 of 23 draws (.609). Perhaps his most important win came in the fourth overtime when UVa claimed the draw and scored on the possession to win the game.

Jenkins has won 61.7 percent of his career face-offs, the second-highest total in school history. Steve Kraus holds the school record with a 68.0 winning percentage.

With 360 career faceoff wins, Jenkins needs just three wins to pass Tony Nugent for third place on UVa’s all-time wins chart.

The winningest face-off men in school history are listed below.

      name, years               taken   W    L    Pct.    1.  Jason Hard, 1997-00      949   539  410   .568    2.  Brad Wood, 1984-87       707   423  284   .598    3.  Tony Nugent, 1992-95     668   362  306   .542 4. David Jenkins, 1998-01   567   360  223  .617    5.  Steve Kraus, 1978-81     478   325  153   .680

Defense Shuts Down Opponents Recently
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 tied for fifth in the country, allowing an average of 7.22 goals per game this season. Syracuse’s 13 goals are the most given up by UVa, while Maryland’s two goals are the fewest an opponent has scored.

The defense has been especially stingy in the last five games, giving up an average of 5.0 goals per game. The 25 goals given up in the last five games is the best five-game performance by UVa since 1986 when the Cavaliers gave up 24 goals in a five-game stretch in early April (Maryland thru Navy).

Led by goalie Tillman Johnson, the defense has applied the clamps to the opposition offense since halftime of the Johns Hopkins game three 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).

In the win over then #1 Maryland, Johnson 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.

Johnson has allowed just seven goals, while making 41 saves, in his last 193:15 going back to the second half of the Hopkins game. Based on a 60-minute game that is a 2.17 GAA and an .854 save percentage.

Mohler Erupts for Five Goals vs. Radford
Midfielder Brenndan Mohler had a game against Radford 11 days ago 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 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.

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