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March 5, 2004

Charlottesville, Va. –

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Game 4

#T15 Virginia vs. #3 Syracuse
March 6, 2004 * 1 pm
Kl?ckner Stadium * Charlottesville, Va.

Game Info

The Records:
Virginia: 1-2
Syracuse: 1-0

The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
Virginia: T15/9
Syracuse: 3/2

The Series vs. Syracuse:
Overall: 7-10
Home: 2-4
Away: 2-3
Neutral: 3-3
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

Last Meeting:
Virginia won 16-15 last season

Radio Coverage: You can listen to Mac McDonald and Doug Tarring call all the action by following this link WINA AM 1070 radio broadcast of men’s lacrosse.

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.

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 one of the most anticipated games of the season by lacrosse fans everywhere.

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).

The Orangemen have won the last three meetings in Charlottesville (by a combined four goals).

Tight Games Characterize Series
Among the reasons this matchup is so widely anticipated include the potential for a high-scoring as well as one that goes down to the wire.

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.

Since 1996, UVa has won three games by a total of five goals (1.67/), while Syracuse’s eight wins have been by a total of 17 goals (2.13/g).

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.

Of the 17 games all-time between the two powerhouses, 11 have been decided by one or two goals.

Green Grass of Kl?ckner Bodes Well
The Cavaliers will no doubt look to playing in the familiar surroundings at Kl?ckner Stadium as the tonic they need to end the current two-game losing streak.

Virginia is 48-10 (.827) since moving to Kl?ckner in 1993. Overall the Cavaliers have won their last six and 13 of the last 14 at Kl?ckner.

Curiously Syracuse has won both meetings of these two teams at Kl?ckner (2000, ’02).

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.

Yevoli began this season with 99 career points and became the 34th Cavalier in the Century Club with a goal and an assist in the season opener against Drexel.

Christmas followed two games later with three goals and an assist in last Sunday’s loss to Denver.

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.

That season is also the last time Virginia was below .500 after three games (1-2).

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.

Turnovers Doom Cavaliers
One of the factors that contributed to UVa’s disappointing performance in Colorado last weekend was a significant number of turnovers.

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.

Late in the contest Virginia turned the ball over six times in 11 fourth quarter possessions and lost by two (9-7).

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.

This season he has been below 50 percent in two of three games and has posted a .469 winning percentage.

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).

The following afternoon vs. Denver, he had the worst effort of his career, winning just five of 18 attempts (.278).

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.

2002 regular season: 12×23 (.522)
2002 NCAA semis: 13^x24^ (.542)
2003 regular season: 19*x32* (.594)
career: 44×79 (.557)
* career high ^ season high

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.

The last time the Cavaliers lost as many as three close games was 2001 when they were 1-3. That is also the last time they were below .500 in close games.

Under , the Cavaliers have had middling success in close games going 30-27 since 1993.

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.

Things picked up a bit the next day as the middies scored three times in the 9-7 loss to Denver.

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.

The senior from Annapolis is currently second in the nation with 32 saves (Butler’s Sam Ashley leads with 48).

With 14 saves the last time out against Denver, Johnson passed Rodney Rullman to become UVa’s career leader with 562 saves. Rullman stopped 553 shots during his career from 1972-75.

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.

In the season opening 15-4 win over Drexel, Virginia shot 32.6 percent (15×46), but fell off considerably in losses to Air Force and Denver last weekend.

Against Air Force the Cavaliers were successful 18.8 percent of the time (6×32), and dropped off even more the following afternoon against Denver by shooting 17.1 percent (7×41).

The two games characterized both losses last season when UVa failed to shoot better than 17 percent in dropping one-goal games to Johns Hopkins and Maryland during the regular season.

Since 2000 Virginia is 1-3 when shooting less than 20 percent and 25-4 when shooting better than 30 percent.

Defense Remains Stingy
While the Virginia offense has had some difficulty getting going this season, the defense-led by the stellar play of goalie and defenseman Brett Hughes-has remained strong.

The Cavaliers are relinquishing an average of just 6.67 goals per game and are currently ranked 13th nationally in team defense.

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.

He has notched at least one goal in the last nine games going back to last season, the longest streak on the team.

Attack Intact
Virginia offsets the loss of last year’s top-three midfielders by having all three starters back on the attack this season.

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.

2004 Captains Named
Four players have been named captains of this year’s squad-Brett Hughes, , and .

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.

Mullen, a senior from Annapolis, Md., is an aggressive player who always gives the offense a lift when inserted in the game. He scored three times last season and is the team’s fourth attackman.

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