Starsia Identifies Challenges, Improvements as Next NCAA Game Nears
May 13, 2003
The mounting excitement can be felt in Charlottesville as the lacrosse community awaits Virginia’s NCAA quarterfinal game against Georgetown this Sunday, May 18th at Towson University. After a 19-8 win over Mount Saint Mary’s College last Saturday in the first round of the NCAAs, Virginia returns to the practice field today to begin preparation for the Georgetown match-up.
“Last week was a busy week for the team, preparing for the first round game while tackling end-of-the-year exams,” says Head Coach Dom Starsia. “We gave the guys a few days off, encouraged them to go home, relax, and come back refreshed. We start practice back today and the team’s excited. It’s important to keep the excitement level up and to not pound these guys at this point in the post season. We’re focusing on preparing mentally, working hard the next few days and backing off closer to Sunday’s game.”
Starsia and Asssitant Coach Marc Van Arsdale traveled to New Jersey last Sunday to watch the first round game between No. 8 Georgetown and No. 7 Rutgers. The Hoyas defeated Rutgers by a score of 9-6. Starsia pinpoints Georgetown’s tough defense and a strong faceoff weapon as major threats to the Cavaliers.
“This game will be a challenge for our offense considering the strength of the Georgetown defense,” Starsia states. “This will probably be the toughest defense we’ve come up against all season. And winning faceoffs will be key. Faceoffs control the flow of the game and Georgetown has had success in winning faceoffs with sophomore Andy Corno. We’ve also had success with our own Jack deVilliers, so winning the draws will be crucial in this game, and will be one of our biggest challenges.”
When asked about the importance of the Virginia freshman, Starsia comments “All year, we’ve been harping on being more dangerous in the second midfield unit with freshman Gilbert and Poskay. They’ve said scoring from the midfield has been the hardest adjustment from high school to college and I’d have to agree with them. But they’re now experienced. This goes for all of our freshman. Having played a challenging schedule, they can now apply the lessons they’ve learned throughout the year. It’s a useful way to define the start of something new. They should view themselves as sophomores now and this is the time to step up as upperclassman.”
But Starsia also highlights the value and essentiality of the seniors on this year’s team.
“The seniors’ leadership has been the strength of this team since the first day in September. That rock-solid leadership has contributed to the success of this team thus far and will only continue to guide us in the quarterfinals.”
Virginia’s 11-2 finish in the regular season involved making some adjustments along the way. Starsia attributes the improved offensive strength to middle-season defeats.
“The middle of the season, with the two losses to Hopkins and Maryland, was a useful period for us. We took the lessons of those losses to heart and began improving steadily on offense. We kept coming together offensively as we moved into the ACCs and playing those teams again and into the end of the season with Penn State and Denver.”
As the Cavaliers head to Towson this Saturday, Starsia feels confident in his team’s ability.
“This has been a nice group of guys, a fun group of guys to work with. They’ve become as much a team as any group I’ve worked with and they’ve given themselves a chance to do some great things in the next two weeks. I’m very proud of them.”
Gametime for the Virginia vs. Georgetown match is set for 3 pm Sunday, May 18. The Cavaliers’ game is preceded by the Towson vs. Johns Hopkins game scheduled to start at noon.
Tickets for the quarterfinals are available at the Towson Center Ticket Office and the TU campus Box Office located in the University Union. Tickets are $15.00 each and are general admission. From Monday, May 12 to Friday, May 16 tickets will be sold at the Towson Center Ticket Office from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm each of those days. This is a preferable location because access is easier. The University Union ticket office hours are: Monday (8:30 am – 7:00 pm), Tuesday (10:00 am to 7:00 pm), Wednesday through Friday (10:00 am – 4:00 pm) and Saturday (10:00 am to 2:00 pm). For further NCAA lacrosse tournament quarterfinal ticket information, call the University Union Box Office at 410-704-2244.