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May 4, 2003

The Virginia men’s lacrosse is the second seed in the 16-team NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championships. The Cavaliers will host Mount St. Mary’s of Emmitsburg, Maryland on Saturday at Klockner Stadium. The Mountaineers enter their first NCAA Tournament with a 10-7 record and qualified for the playoffs by winning the Metro Atlantic Conference championship.

“It’s an exciting time, head coach Dom Starsia said. “We’re really glad to be in the [NCAA] Tournament first and foremost. We’re really happy with our seed. It’s nice to be playing a team that we haven’t seen yet. It makes for a little bit different preparation. This is just an exciting time for us.”

This is the first year the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championships consists of 16 teams. Prior to this season, UVa often drew a first round bye as one of the top four seeds in the 12-team tournament. This bye coupled with the final exam break usually meant a three-week layoff for Virginia.

“I certainly think playing in the first round helps UVa over the long haul,” Starsia said. “I don’t think for college guys sitting around is the best thing. I think a week off here was helpful, but now I think we want to get back to playing. I really don’t think sitting another week would be helping us. We’re excited to be playing Mount St. Mary’s and I’m sure it will be a great first round game here in Charlottesville.”

The Cavaliers closed the regular season with six consecutive victories and won the ACC championship during that stretch. Starsia is excited to bring a team that is confident and healthy into tournament play.

“We played well down the stretch of the season,” Starsia said. “After the Denver game we got a couple days off with the start of exams and I think our players benefited from that. I think we needed a couple of days off. I feel we have a little bit of momentum going into the playoffs. We got back to practice today [Sunday]. There was some real energy there. I think everybody’s excited to get to this part of the season which is the part that we’ve certainly been waiting for the whole time.”

If Virginia defeats Mount St. Mary’s, the Cavaliers will advance to play the winner of the Georgetown (10-3) vs. Rutgers (10-4) contest in a quarterfinal game to be played at Towson University on Sunday, May 18.

“There are only two options in the quarterfinals. You’re either going to be playing at Towson or you’re going to be playing at Syracuse,” Starsia said. “There was a lot of talk about playing Syracuse in the [Carrier] Dome in the quarterfinals if teams were to get that far. Getting to Syracuse is a complicated trip for us. So it certainly is a little bit easier for us to be going to Towson. If I had a choice, I think we’re happy to be in the southern bracket.”

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