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April 30, 2001

Greensboro, N.C. –

Virginia goaltender Tillman Johnson has been named the 2001 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Year in a vote of the league’s four head coaches. Duke midfielder Kevin Cassese was selected conference’s Player of the Year, while his head coach Mike Pressler was selected as the league’s Coach of the Year.

Johnson is the first goalie to ever win the conference’s rookie award. Overall, he is the seventh Cavalier to win the award and the second in the last three seasons (Conor Gill won the award in 1999).

One of the top freshmen in the nation, the Annapolis, Md., native has lived up to his billing with an excellent freshman campaign for the Cavaliers this spring. He has started all 12 games to date and is allowing an average of 7.82 goals per game. He has made 132 saves and his save percentage of .592 is the highest for Virginia since 1990.

Johnson was named the Warrior/Inside Division I National Player of the Week for his play in UVa’s 9-8 quadruple overtime win over Johns Hopkins on March 24. In that game he recorded a career-high 18 saves in the upset win over the fifth-ranked Blue Jays. Led by the play of the rookie netminder, Virginia allowed just one goal in the game’s final 44 minutes as Virginia came from behind to win the longest game in school history.

The following week he stymied the Maryland offense in a 7-2 Virginia win and was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Week. He turned in a tremendous performance against the Terrapins, by recording 16 saves, including several from point-blank range, while giving up just two goals. The two goals were the fewest the Terps scored in a game since 1948.

Cassese, a native of Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., helped lead the Blue Devils to a 10-5 record this year and the school’s first ACC championship since 1995. Cassese has tallied 31 points this season on 21 goals and 10 assists. Additionally, he is second on the team with 75 ground balls. Cassese has also won 43 of 63 face-offs for the Blue Devils.

Pressler earns the Coach of the Year award for the second time in his career, having won the honor in 1995 as well. He led the 2001 Blue Devils to the school’s third ACC Championship and the second during his tenure. Pressler has led Duke to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past four seasons and led the 1997 team to the NCAA Tournament’s semifinals for the first time in school history.

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