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March 26, 2004

Charlottesville, Va. –

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Game 5

#17 Virginia vs. #1 Johns Hopkins
March 27, 2004 * 7:30 pm
Kl?ckner Stadium * Charlottesville, Va.

Game Info

The Records:
Virginia: 2-4
Johns Hopkins: 5-0

The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
Virginia: 17/14
Johns Hopkins: 1/1

The Series vs. Johns Hopkins:
Overall: 21-52-1
Home: 10-17
Away: 7-32-1
Neutral: 4-1
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

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

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.

The Cavaliers have closed the gap recently by winning eight of the last 11 vs. the Blue Jays.

John Hopkins’ 52 wins over Virginia are by far the most wins by any school over the Cavaliers. Maryland is next with 40 wins over UVa.

Virginia has also played more games against Hopkins than any one else (74). Again, Maryland is second with 71 games vs. the Cavaliers.

The Blue Jays have had great success in Charlottesville, winning 17 of 27 match-ups on the Cavaliers’ home fields. However, Virginia has won six of the last seven games in Charlottesville.

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.

History Suggests Rankings Don’t Mean Much
One of the characteristics of the Virginia vs. Johns Hopkins series since the late 1980s is the inability to use rankings as a predictor of victory.

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).

Not surprisingly, the Blue Jays are UVa’s most frequent #1 opponent-14 meetings. The Blue Jays have won 10 of those meetings, but UVa has won the last three going back to 1992.

Virginia is 14-17 vs. the #1 team since 1973, including a 10-3 mark under .The Cavaliers have also won the last seven times they’ve hosted the No. 1 team since 1992.

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.

Since the Cavaliers are typically found at or near the top of the polls, it’s not unusual they are the higher ranked team.

However, on the rare occasions when the Cavaliers are the lower ranked squad they have had pretty good success springing an upset as shown by their 20-20 record under since 1993.

Last season the Cavaliers spent time at #1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 and played only two games as the lower ranked squad with resounding success.

They gained a big early season win over #1 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome in early March and concluded the season with a 9-7 win over top-ranked Johns Hopkins in the national finals.

UVa is 11-19 against Johns Hopkins since 1972 when ranked lower than the Blue Jays (4-2 under Starsia), but has won four of the last five.

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.

Johns Hopkins was the first to fall-14-9 on a cold Friday night in March 1996, the first of four night wins at Kl?ckner that season.

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.

Johnson Shines vs. Blue Jays
has turned in some of the best performances of his career against Johns Hopkins, highlighted by a 14-save effort in last season’s national championship game.

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.

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

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 turned the ball over 28 times vs. Syracuse early this month, but the free-wheeling Orangemen reciprocated with 31 of their own.

Virginia had a season-low 10 turnovers in the loss to Princeton (vs. 16 by the Tigers), but took an inordinate number of bad shots that could almost be classified as turnovers.

Last Sunday Virginia committed fewer turnovers than Towson (24 vs. 20) and came back from a 5-2 halftime deficit to gain a 9-8 overtime win that ended a four-game losing streak.

Overall the Cavaliers average 21.0 turnovers per game this season.

Losing the Close Ones
Virginia has gone down to the wire in four games so far this season, winning once and losing three times in games decided by one or two goals.

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.

The last time the Cavaliers lost as many as three close games was 2001 when they were 1-3. UVa hasn’t lost four close games in a season since 1996 (2-4).

Under , the Cavaliers have had middling success in close games going 30-29 since 1993.

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.

The midfield is averaging 4.3 goals per game this season, but only 3.2 in the last five contests.

Playing from Behind
Virginia has rarely had the lead in any game since posting a 15-4 victory over Drexel in the season opener.

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.

In the season opening 15-4 win over Drexel, Virginia shot 32.6 percent (15×46), but fell off considerably during the recent four-game losing streak.

In their loss to 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).

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 subpar shooting returned in the 8-7 loss to Princeton as the Cavaliers shot a season-low 15.9 percent (7×44), the worst shooting since 2001 (vs. North Carolina, 15.6 percent).

The productivity perked up a bit in last Sunday’s win over Towson as the Cavaliers made good on 21.4 percent (9×42) of their shots, a low percentage to be sure but enough to down the Tigers.

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.

Since 2000 UVa is 1-4 when shooting less than 20 percent and 25-5 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 play of goalie and defenseman Brett Hughes-has remained strong.

The play of Hughes and Johnson is even more important when you realize the rest of the defensive players are playing their positions for the first time.

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.

The Cavaliers are relinquishing an average of 9.00 goals per game. Other than a high-powered Syracuse team (18 goals), the Cavaliers have held their other five opponents to fewer than 10 goals.

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.

Christmas followed two games later with three goals and an assist in the loss to Denver and is currently in a tie for 32nd place with 104 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.

The senior from Annapolis recently moved past Rodney Rullman to become UVa’s all-time career saves leader. He currently has 598 saves; Rullman stopped 553 shots during his career from 1972-75.

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.

Virginia has been “out ground balled” four times this season (Air Force, Denver, Princeton, Towson) and lost three of them.

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.

Towson had the advantage last week 48-36, but the Cavaliers got a key GB on the overtime faceoff and used the possession to score the game winner.

Last season Virginia was “out ground balled” only three times, but won each time.The Cavaliers have won 44 of their last 50 games dating back to 1998 when snapping up at least 50 ground balls.

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.

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