Men's Lacrosse Team Faces North Carolina in Key ACC Battle
April 5, 2002
Charlottesville, Va. –
#2 Virginia (6-1/1-0 ACC) vs. #7 North Carolina (6-2/1-1 ACC)
April 6, 2002
Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Series vs. the Tar Heels
Virginia leads the all-time series with North Carolina by a 36-23 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).
North Carolina won last season’s meeting 7-5 in Charlottesville, but the Cavaliers have won six of the last seven meetings dating back to 1997.
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 on the Tar Heels’ home field, winning 17 of 26 meetings in Chapel Hill through the years. UVa has won five of the last seven games in Chapel Hill, including a 13-7 triumph two years ago in the most recent game at Fetzer Field.
Virginia’s last six wins over North Carolina follow an interesting pattern. UVa’s first win of the current streak in 1997 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 the 2000 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.
Last season’s five goals marks the Cavaliers’ fewest in the series since 1992.
Virginia hasn’t lost consecutive games to the Tar Heels since losing both match-ups in 1996.
Looking for Longest Winning Streak in Two Years
The Cavaliers have been playing well lately and are riding a five-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s match-up vs. North Carolina.
The five-game winning streak is Virginia’s longest since the Cavaliers won 13 games in a row two years ago. That winning streak ended at with a loss to Princeton in the national semifinals.
Christmas Erupts in Last Two Contests
Freshman attack John Christmas has led the team in scoring the last two games-wins over Johns Hopkins and Maryland.
He got off to a fast start this season, scoring three goals in his college debut vs. Drexel, but cooled a bit and scored six goals and added four assists, in the next four games combined.
But as the warm weather of spring appeared, so too, did Christmas’ offensive explosions.
He was named National and ACC Player of the Week after leading the Cavaliers to a 12-6 win over then #1 Johns Hopkins two weeks ago. The rookie from Ardmore, Pa., finished the game with a career-high seven points (3g, 4a), the most points by a Cavalier rookie since 1996.
With the game tied at six early in the third quarter, Christmas took over. He had a hand in the next six goals-assisting on four third quarter goals and scoring twice in the fourth-en route to the win.
It was much the same last week against Maryland as his four goals and an assist guided the Cavaliers to an 11-10 win in their ACC opener. Two of his goals came in man-down situations on fastbreak feeds from long stick middie Trey Whitty.
Christmas has scored seven goals and added five assists in the last two games to take over the team’s scoring lead.
He is second in the ACC in scoring with an average of 3.57 ppg. His 16 goals are second in the league behind teammate Joe Yevoli’s 20.
Improved Shooting Leads to Wins
Part of Virginia’s offensive resurgence is due to its improved shooting. Last season Virginia averaged 10.4 goals per game, while shooting just 27.8 percent.
The scoring average was the program’s lowest since 1969, while the shooting percentage was the lowest since 1993 (.242).
This season has seen a dramatic increase in scoring of more than two goals per game to 12.7 goals per game, while the shooting is up to 31.6 percent.
The Cavaliers have scored on at least 30 percent of their shots in every game except one this season, with a high of 37.9 percent last week against Maryland. The low (.200) occurred in a slow down game vs. Notre Dame.
This contrasts markedly with last season when the Cavaliers shot better than 30 percent on just three occasions all season.
During the current five-game winning streak, Virginia is shooting 31.5 percent and has shot better than 34 percent three times (Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Maryland).