Virginia Faces Syracuse in National Semifinals Saturday at Rutgers
May 23, 2002
Charlottesville, Va. –
NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championships
#3 Virginia (11-3) vs. #2 Syracuse (13-2)
May 25, 2002
Semifinal game #2
Television:Saturday’s semifinal games are being televised nationally on ESPN2. The first semifinal game between Johns Hopkins and Princeton begins at 11:30 a.m., while Virginia’s game against Syracuse is scheduled to begin 45 minutes after (approx. 2:15 p.m.). Leif Elsmo, Quint Kessenich and Steve Cyphers call the action.
Monday’s championship game is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m and will be televised on ESPN.
The Series vs. the Orangemen
Virginia and Syracuse have staged some of the most thrilling battles in college athletics throughout the last decade, but the rivalry stretches back more than half a century. Syracuse won the first meeting 13-4 in 1938 and has won nine of the 15 meetings all-time.
The two schools battled only three times between 1938-93, but have met at least once each season since 1994.
The two titans have clashed early in the regular season every year since 1995 in what is among the most anticipated games of the season by lacrosse fans everywhere.
Syracuse has won seven of the last eight meetings dating back to 1997, including a 15-13 win in Charlottesville in early March. Virginia’s only win in this stretch was its 12-10 win in the title game of the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
A three-goal win can be considered a “blow out” in this series as eight of the last 12 games have been decided by two goals or less. In the recent history of the series (since 1994), Virginia’s biggest win was an eight-goal triumph (15-7 in 1995), while Syracuse’s biggest win was a seven-goal victory also in 1995 (20-13).
Third Semifinal Appearance in Last Four Years
Virginia has advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament this season for the third time in the last four seasons and the sixth time overall under head coach Dom Starsia.
Overall this is the Cavaliers’ 15th trip to the semifinals, fourth in tournament history. Johns Hopkins leads the way with 23 appearances, followed by Syracuse with a current streak of 20 consecutive appearances and Maryland with 17.
This is the first time since 1988 Virginia has advanced to the semifinals at a site other than College Park, Md. Virginia advanced to the finals at Byrd Stadium in 1994, 1996 and 1999, and to the semifinals in 1995 and 2000.
The current “championships weekend” format where the semifinals and finals are played on the same weekend at the same site began in 1986. The Cavaliers lost to North Carolina 10-9 in overtime that season at the University of Delaware.In 1988 Virginia lost to Cornell in the semifinals played at the Carrier Dome.
This is Virginia’s second ever playoff game in New Jersey. The Cavaliers defeated Delaware 17-10 in the quarterfinals of the 1999 playoffs at Princeton en route to the national championship.
Cavaliers and Orangemen Meet in Postseason Again
This is the sixth time Virginia and Syracuse have met in the NCAA Tournament, including the fifth meeting in the last nine seasons.
Three of Virginia’s six wins over the Orangemen all time have occurred in the NCAA Tournament, including a 12-10 win in the title game of the 1999 championship.
Virginia won the first two postseason clashes-12-10 in the 1986 semifinals and 15-14 in overtime in the 1994 semis.
Syracuse won the next two-20-13 in the 1995 semifinals and 17-14 in the 1998 quarterfinals, before Virginia won the ’99 meeting.
Virginia is 2-1 in semifinal meetings, 1-0 in the finals and 0-1 in the quarterfinals against Syracuse.
Cavaliers as Tournament’s Third Seed
Virginia is seeded third in this year’s NCAA Tournament, the same seed the Cavaliers had in 1999 when they won the national championship.
The last time the Cavaliers were seeded higher occurred two years ago when they were the second seed.
Being the tournament’s third seed has been good for Virginia the last decade and a half or so. The Wahoos were the third seed in both 1986 and 1996 and advanced to the championship game. (Unfortunately they lost both times in overtime.)
The first two times UVa was the third seed weren’t as good. The Cavaliers lost in the semifinals as the third seed in 1982 and fell in the quarters the following year.
The Cavaliers have had remarkable success as the higher seed in the tournament, posting a 21-9 record. Under head coach Dom Starsia, Virginia is 10-4 as the higher seed. (As the lower seed under Starsia, Uva is 3-4.)Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 12 teams in 1987, the #3 seed is 8-3 in the semifinals, including a 6-2 mark against the second seed. The #3 seed has advanced to the championship game eight times and won five titles (including Virginia’s championship in ’99).