Virginia Faces off Against Syracuse Saturday
March 5, 2004
Charlottesville, Va. –
#T15 Virginia vs. #3 Syracuse
March 6, 2004 * 1 pm
Kl?ckner Stadium * Charlottesville, Va.
The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
The Series vs. Syracuse:
Current Streak: W1
Biggest UVa Win: 8, 1995 (15-7)
Biggest SU Win: 9, 1938 (13-4)
UVa Goals: 224
SU Goals: 235
Starsia vs. SU: 5-9
Virginia won 16-15 last season
The Series vs. the Orangemen
The Cavaliers and Orangemen 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 10 of the 17 meetings all-time.
Virginia ended Syracuse’s four-game series winning streak with last season’s 16-15 win in the Carrier Dome. The Cavaliers rallied from a three-goal deficit (9-6) in the third quarter and won on John Christmas’ low bouncer with 22 seconds remaining. Nonetheless Syracuse has won eight of the last 10 meetings dating back to 1997.
Both teams are known for their high-powered offenses-and last year’s contest lived up to the billing-but it is interesting to note that since 1999 Syracuse has scored at least 15 goals only two times (2002, ’03) and Virginia once (last year).
Since 1996 a three-goal win can be considered a “blow out.” Nine of the 11 games since then have been decided by just one or two goals. The largest margin of victory since ’96 is Syracuse’s 13-7 win in 2001 in the Carrier Dome. The Orangemen also won a 1998 NCAA Tournament game by the relatively “wide” margin of 17-14.
In the history of the series that stretches back to 1938, the biggest win by either team is the 13-4 Syracuse win in 1938 in the first meeting between the two squads. Virginia’s biggest win is a 15-7 victory in the Carrier Dome in 1995.
Yevoli, then Christmas Reach Century Point Club
Attackmen and both ended their sophomore seasons last year just shy of becoming members of a select group-players who have recorded at least 100 points in their careers.
This Season Mirrors Three Years Ago So Far
The Cavaliers saw their 11-game winning streak come to an unceremonious end with two losses on their western trip to Denver last weekend. They will look to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2001 Saturday against Syracuse.
Following a season-opening win over Towson, UVa lost three straight to fall to 1-3. The Wahoos then put together a four-game winning streak before a second three-game losing skid. UVa finished 7-7 that year.
In Saturday’s loss to Air Force the Cavaliers committed 35 turnovers, including many that were unforced. Several turnovers occurred in clearing situations as UVa was successful on just 20 of 35 attempts (.571), its worst clearing performance since a 1988 loss to North Carolina (.559).
Virginia had fewer turnovers in Sunday’s loss to Denver, but many were quick turnovers that prevented the Cavaliers from mounting much offense. The Pioneers controlled the ball for most of the second quarter, outscoring UVa 3-1 to take a 5-2 halftime lead. Virginia had four turnovers on just 11 short possessions in the quarter.
Losing the Faceoff Battles
was one of the nation’s leading faceoff specialists last season, ranking ninth in the country with a .588 winning percentage. He won more than half of his attempts on 13 occasions, including more than 68 percent in five games.
He opened the year with a 7-of-15 (.467) performance against Drexel, but was outstanding in the next game against Air Force. Despite the team’s loss, deVilliers put UVa in position to win by taking 11 of 16 draws (.688).
If history repeats itself, deVilliers is due for a strong outing against Syracuse. In three games against the Orangemen he has won nearly 56 percent of his faceoffs. A game-by-game breakdown is below.
Losing the Close Ones
Virginia lost both games on its trip west last weekend by a combined three goals. The two close losses are already as many as the Cavaliers had during all of last year’s championship season. Virginia was 4-2 last spring in games decided by one or two goals, including a 9-7 win in the national title game vs. Johns Hopkins.
Midfield Play Important to Cavaliers’ Success
Virginia’s young midfield-the top nine features a freshman, six sophomores and two juniors-was outstanding in the season opening win over Drexel, combining for 10 of the team’s 15 goals, while adding an assist for good measure. Three of the four Cavaliers who scored two goals in the game were middies-Kyle Dixon, and Ted Lamade-and all three equalled their career high. Kenney scored only four times last season, while Lamade missed almost all of the last two seasons and hadn’t scored since 2001.
Their youth and relative inexperience perhaps caught up to them in last weekend’s two losses. In a narrow 7-6 loss to Air Force, the middies failed to score, marking the first time since 1986 (vs. Navy) that Virginia failed to get any goals from the midfielders. In contrast, Air Force’s midfielders scored twice.
Johnson Becomes UVa’s All-Time Saves Leader
Preseason Player of the Year set a school record with 205 saves last season in leading Virginia to the national championship. After recording a career-low three saves (he played just 30 minutes) in an NCAA Tourney first round win over Mount St. Mary’s, Johnson dominated the rest of the playoffs. He turned aside 16 shots in a quarterfinal win over Georgetown and electrified the record crowds at the final four with a career-high tying 18 saves against Maryland in the semis and 14 saves in the finals vs. Johns Hopkins.
Misfiring on Scoring Opportunities
Virginia has not been a good shooting team during this young season, connecting on just 23.5 percent of its shots. Last season the Cavaliers scored on 27.1 percent of their shots and were above 30 percent the year before.
Last season Virginia finished eighth nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average of 7.53 goals per game en route to winning the national championship. The scoring average is UVa’s lowest since the 1986 squad allowed an average of 7.20 goals per game.
Ward Following Up Stellar Rookie Campaign
Attackman was one of the nation’s top freshmen last season after scoring 26 goals and assisting on 20 others. He and Patrick Walsh from Notre Dame were the only “20-20” rookies in 2003.
During the early part of the season he is off to a fast start and leads the team in goals (6) and assists (5). His 11 points are third in the country (Matt Danowski of Duke and Matt Alrich at Delaware lead with 13 points).
Ward was UVa’s top goal scorer in the first two games this season after leading just twice all last spring. He tallied two goals vs. Drexel and three against Air Force. He has also led or shared the team lead in assists in all three games.
Junior registered 49 points last spring to share the team’s scoring honors with M . Yevoli led the ACC in goals (40) as a freshman two years ago, but saw his role change as he turned around to lead the conference in assists (26). In the process he became the first player to go from leading the conference in goals one season to leading in assists the next since former UVa great Doug Knight did so in 1996-97.
Junior finished as the team’s third-leading scorer (48 points), one point behind the leaders. A preseason All-American, he scored a team-high 36 goals, tied for ninth most in UVa history, and shared the ACC leadership. He scored 65 goals his first two seasons becoming one of only six players in school history with at least 50 through his sophomore season (along with Yevoli).
Sophomore had one of the most productive seasons ever by a Cavalier freshman. He was the third member of the attack to register at least 40 points (46=26g, 20a). Ward’s 26 goals tied for fifth in the nation by a freshman and fifth all-time by a UVa rookie, while his 46 points were tied for third nationally. He and Notre Dame’s Patrick Walsh were the only “20-20” freshmen in the nation.
Seven Named Preseason All-Americans
Seven Cavaliers have been named to the 2004 Face-Off Yearbook preseason All-American squad. Three were named to the first-team-senior defenseman , senior goalie and junior attack . Junior faceoff specialist , junior attack and sophomore midfielder were second-team choices, while sophomore attack received honorable mention recognition.
A four-year starter, Hughes is one of the nation’s top defenders, who consistently shuts down the opposition’s top attackman. He was a second-team All-American last season and was named to the NCAA Championships All-Tournament team and the All-ACC Tournament team as UVa captured both championships. His 50 ground balls were second among ACC close defensemen in 2003.
Johnson reserved a place in the history of UVa athletics with his epic performance in last year’s NCAA Tournament, highlighted by dramatic efforts against Maryland and Johns Hopkins in the final four. The reigning USILA Player of the Year and Goalie of the Year, he made 205 saves last season with a .655 save percentage.
A dynamic attackman with tremendous speed and quickness, Christmas led the team with 36 goals while being matched up against some of the nation’s top defensemen. He was a second-team All-American and an All-ACC pick for the second year in a row.
Named the team’s most improved player, deVilliers was one of the nation’s leading faceoff men last spring. He was ninth nationally with a 58.8 winning percentage and led the country with a school-record 204 wins. He won more than 68 percent of his attempts on five occasions.
The ACC’s Rookie of the Year in 2002 when he led the league with 40 goals, Yevoli saw his role change a bit last season and led the conference with 26 assists. He was named a second-team All-American after sharing the team lead in scoring with 49 points.
Dixon is the only sophomore named to any of the first three teams. A member of the U.S. Under-19 team that captured the world championship last summer, he scored nine goals and added eight assists last season while playing on the first midfield.Ward turned in a very productive campaign as one of the nation’s top freshmen. He finished with 46 points (26g, 20a) and was one of only two freshmen in the country to score at least 20 goals and add 20 assists. Twenty-four of his 26 goals came against ranked teams, the highest percentage on the team.
Hughes, a senior from Upper Arlington, Ohio, has started every game in his career. One of the top defensemen in the country, he is a special athlete who combines unique size, speed and tremendous game instincts. He snagged 50 ground balls last season, second among ACC close defensemen and tied for 17th nationally.
Johnson, a senior goalie from Annapolis, Md., is easily the top player in the country at his position. The reigning USILA Player of the Year and Goalie of the Year, he is the first goalie named Player of the Year since 1994. His 205 saves last year are a school record and he recently passed Rodney Rullman as UVa’s career saves leader.
Lamade, a red-shirt junior from Chevy Chase, Md., has battled ankle injuries the last two seasons, including last season when he redshirted. He has returned to full strength this season and was one of the team’s leading leading scorers in the fall.