Men's Lacrosse Hosts Johns Hopkins Saturday Night at Kl?ckner Stadium
March 26, 2004
Charlottesville, Va. –
#17 Virginia vs. #1 Johns Hopkins
March 27, 2004 * 7:30 pm
Kl?ckner Stadium * Charlottesville, Va.
Johns Hopkins: 5-0
The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
Johns Hopkins: 1/1
The Series vs. Johns Hopkins:
Current Streak: W1
Biggest UVa Win: 8, 2000 (16-8)
Biggest TU Win: 15, 1931 (15-0)
UVa Goals: 621
JHU Goals: 893
Starsia (UVa) vs. JHU: 9-6
The Series vs. the Blue Jays
Johns Hopkins holds a commanding 52-21-1 record in the all-time series with Virginia. The rivalry between the two schools goes all the way back to two meetings in 1904, well before lacrosse was recognized as a varsity sport at UVa. The series didn’t resume until 1926, the second “official” year of the UVa varsity program (but still 22 years before UVa joined the USILA). The teams have met at least once every season since 1948, the longest current series of any Virginia opponent.
This game features some historical patterns that could bode well for the Cavaliers.Known as a team that likes the up-tempo pace, Virginia would certainly like to see its offense explode vs. the Blue Jays since the Cavaliers are 17-7 all-time when scoring at least 10 goals. In fact, when UVa scores more than 13 goals they have won 11 of 14 games against Hopkins.
UVa can also be successful if it is able to contain the Hopkins offense because it is 14-4-1 when allowing fewer than 10 goals. The Blue Jays, the nation’s second-highest scoring offense, have not scored more than eight goals in the last five games vs. the Cavaliers.
The higher ranked team has lost 12 of the last 17 regular season meetings dating back to 1987. In fact, from 1990-1995, the higher ranked squad lost each time. The higher team has also lost the last three regular season match-ups.
Over the last 10 years or so this rivalry has also been death to teams ranked #1. Two years ago the Blue Jays came to Charlottesville as the top-ranked team and suffered their first loss of the season 12-6. Similarly last season’s game at Homewood saw the Blue Jays hand the #1 Cavaliers an 8-7 loss.
Since 1991 a team ranked #1 has lost five of six games in the series. Virginia won as #1 in 1996 and lost in 1991, ’95 and ’03. Johns Hopkins lost as #1 in 1992 and 2002.Last season the higher ranked team lost both times-#1 UVa in the regular season 8-7 and #1 Johns Hopkins 9-7 in the NCAA title game.
Virginia vs. #1
Johns Hopkins comes into this game as the hottest team in the nation. The Blue Jays are second in the country in scoring (14.2 gpg) and tops in defense (6.20 gpg), while winning all five games by an average of 8.0 goals per game. As a result, they sit atop all the major polls.
This is the second time in a row Virginia has played No. 1 Johns Hopkins. Last season the Cavaliers captured their second national championship in five seasons with a 9-7 win over Hopkins, who finished the season ranked number 1 (polls done before completion of playoffs).
Starsia’s Cavaliers vs. Higher Ranked Opponents
Virginia moved back into the rankings this week, listed 17th in the USILA coaches poll. The Cavaliers weren’t ranked last week for the first time since the end of the 1987 season, ending a streak of 150 consecutive rankings. Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins comes in as the nation’s top-ranked team.
Invincible Under the Kl?ckner Lights
The Cavaliers hope to continue a trend Saturday night against Johns Hopkins-keeping an undefeated streak alive at Kl?ckner Stadium. Since moving to Kl?ckner in 1993 the Cavaliers are 11-0 in night games there.
From 1996-98 Virginia played seven night games there, but have played only four since.The only other time UVa played the #1 team at night at Kl?ckner occurred in the 1998 ACC Tournament semifinals when the Cavaliers knocked off top-ranked Maryland 13-9.
As a freshman in 2001, Johnson’s stellar play between the pipes lifted the Cavaliers to a 9-8 win in four overtimes, the longest game in either school’s history. He recorded a career-high 18 saves (equalled several times since) and allowed just one goal in the game’s final 44 minutes.
The following year his splendid performance highlighted a strong defensive effort as Virginia handed the Blue Jays their first loss of the season, 12-6. He finished with 14 saves, while allowing just the six goals. Six of his saves came in the second half and he gave up only one goal in the final 30 minutes.
During a tough 8-7 loss during last season’s regular season game, Johnson’s play helped keep the game close as Virginia nearly completed a dramatic comeback. He posted 10 saves, while holding the Blue Jays to their third-lowest total of the season.Johnson capped a spectacular NCAA Tournament with his dramatic performance in last season’s title game. He turned in a 14-save effort and brought an NCAA Tournament record crowd to its feet with three terrific man-down saves in a third quarter flurry, stopping Kyle Barrie, Kevin Boland and Bobby Benson, all from point blank range.In four career games against Johns Hopkins, Johnson has compiled a .659 save percentage, the third-best average against all opponents he’s played more than once. He has also relinquished an average of just 6.88 goals per game to the Blue Jays, the fifth-lowest total against teams he has faced more than once.
In the 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 a loss to Denver the following day, but many were quick turnovers that prevented the Cavaliers from sustaining any 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).
The Cavaliers ended their four-game losing streak last weekend with a 9-8 come-from-behind overtime win over Towson. During the streak they lost three of the games by a combined four goals. The three close losses are already more than they had during all of last year’s championship season. UVa 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 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 the two losses out west. 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.
Since the trip to Denver and the subsequent four-game losing streak the Cavaliers have frequently played from behind. In fact, the Cavaliers trailed by more than 40 minutes in all three games leading up to last Sunday’s comeback win over Towson. Even in that game, UVa led for a third of what Towson did (10:22 vs. 33:29).
Last season Virginia had a lead of 40+ minutes in 12 of 17 games, including all four NCAA Tournament games and held the lead for less than 20 minutes only twice (only losses of the season), while having the lead for more than 35 minutes on 14 occasions.
Misfiring on Scoring Opportunities
Virginia has not been a good shooting team during this young season, connecting on just 22.9 percent of its shots. Last season the Cavaliers scored on 27.1 percent of their shots and were above 30 percent the year before.
Virginia shot fairly well against Syracuse on March 6, making 12 of 40 shots (.300), but lost for the first time in almost two years when shooting at least 30 percent-a span of nine games going back to an ACC Tournament loss to Duke.
The recent shooting slump has been typical of past losses for the Cavaliers. Both losses last season occurred when UVa failed to shoot better than 17 percent and dropped one-goal games to Johns Hopkins and Maryland during the regular season.In the Cavaliers’ two wins this season, they are shooting 27.3 percent, while in their four losses they are shooting 20.4 percent.
Joining Hughes on the close defense are and . Culver was primarily a long stick midfielder last season, while Holmes was out of school. As a freshman two years ago, Holmes played primarily at LSM, but started at close in the NCAA semifinals vs. Syracuse. The team’s top LSM is , a freshman.
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.
Yevoli, Christmas Reach Century 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. He is currently 28th in school history in scoring with 114 points.
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.
Ground Balls Key to Victory
One of the goals of the Virginia coaching staff every game is winning the ground ball battle. This season the Cavaliers are averaging 41.3 ground balls per game, down 7.1 per game from last season.
The recent performance against Princeton was the Cavaliers’ worst in quite some time. They had just 27 ground balls and lost the battle by 20. The 20-GB differential is UVa’s biggest deficit since Princeton had a 57-34 margin in 2002, while the 27 total ground balls is UVa’s lowest based on available records dating back to 1970.
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 (14) and assists (9). His 23 points are eight more than the next player ( has 15 points) and tied for 10th nationally.
His 14 goals are tied for 14th in the country, while his nine assists are tied for 17th. He is one of only five players to rank in the top 20 in points, goals and assists nationally. (The others are: Chris Cara from Bucknell, Ian Dingman from Navy, Joe Walters of Maryland and Duke’s Matt Danowski.)
Ward has been UVa’s top goal scorer five times this season after leading just twice all last spring. He tallied two goals vs. Drexel and Towson, and three against Air Force, Syracuse and Princeton. He has also led or shared the team lead in assists four times.He has notched at least one goal in the last 12 games going back to last season, the longest streak on the team.