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April 2, 2004

Charlottesville, Va. –

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Game 5

#10 Virginia at. #1 Maryland
April 3, 2004 * 1 pm
Byrd Stadium * College Park, Md.

Game Info

The Records:
Virginia: 3-4
Maryland: 7-0

The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
Virginia: 10/T10
Maryland: 1/1

The Series vs. Maryland:
Overall: 31-40
Home: 15-17
Away: 13-21
Neutral: 3-2
Current Streak: W1
Biggest UVa Win: 11, 1981 (23-12)
Biggest UM Win: 19, 1929 (22-3)
UVa Goals: 684
UM Goals: 812
Starsia (UVa) vs. UM: 12-7

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.

Television: Saturday’s game is also being televised live by CSTV (DirecTV Channel 610). Carter Blackburn is the play-by-play announcer, while Quint Kessenich adds color analysis.

The Series vs. the Terrapins
Maryland leads the all-time series with Virginia by a 40-31 margin. The rivalry between the two schools goes all the way back to 1926, the second year of the Virginia program. The teams have met at least once every season since 1950, making this the second-longest current series of any Virginia opponent (behind Johns Hopkins, 1948).

The Cavaliers have not had much success on the Terrapins’ home field, winning just 13 of 34 meetings in College Park. Their luck has been better recently due to wins the last three times the teams have met at Byrd Stadium, including two wins in 1999.

Virginia has won four of the last five regular season meetings dating back to the national championship season in 1999. Overall the Cavaliers have won seven of the last nine match-ups dating back to ’99.

Throughout the early 1990s the series was characterized by many tight games, including one stretch from 1991-1997 where 10 of 11 games were decided by one or two goals.

The trend of tight games was interrupted between 1998-2001 when eight straight were decided by at least three goals, including six in a row that were all decided by four-or-more goals.

The last two regular season contests have been one-goal games, but the most recent game-in last year’s national semifinals was won by the Cavaliers by 10 goals (14-4).Maryland’s 40 wins over Virginia are the second-most wins by any school over the Cavaliers. Johns Hopkins has defeated UVa 52 times.

Meanwhile, Virginia’s 31 wins in the series make the Terps fourth on UVa’s list of most beaten opponents (UVa has defeated Duke 47 times, Washington & Lee 42 times and North Carolina 40 times).

Cavaliers Open ACC Play Saturday
Virginia opens its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Saturday afternoon against Maryland. Curiously, the other ACC schools have completed their conference schedule except for playing Virginia, while the Cavaliers are just starting.

Virginia is 38-12 all-time in ACC openers. When their ACC opener is on the road the Cavaliers are 18-7 all-time.

Rankings Don’t Mean Much vs. Terps
Virginia and Maryland have met 31 times since 1983 and one of the characteristics of the series since then is the inability to use rankings as a predictor of victory.

The lower ranked team has won 15 times, although things have turned around quite a bit in the last few years with the higher ranked team winning eight of the last 11 match-ups.

Virginia vs. #1
Maryland moved from second in the polls to top spot this week thanks to the Cavaliers’ 9-8 overtime win over then #1 Johns Hopkins last Saturday night. The Terrapins are a perfect 7-0 this season and join Brown as the only undefeated teams remaining.

Maryland features an explosive offense that is fifth in the country in scoring (13.0 gpg) as well as its typical stingy defense that is seventh in the nation allowing an average of just 6.71 gpg.

This is the first time in school history the Cavaliers have played the nation’s top-ranked team in back-to-back games.

This game is the seventh time Virginia has played a #1-ranked Maryland squad and the first time in three years. The Cavaliers handed the Terps a 7-2 loss in Charlottesville in that game. Maryland’s two goals are its fewest in a game since 1948. The Cavaliers have won the last two games when Maryland has been ranked #1 (1996, 2001). Overall Virginia is 3-3 when Maryland sits atop the polls.

Virginia is 15-17 vs. the #1 team since 1973, including an 11-3 mark under .

The Cavaliers have also won the last five games against #1, the second-longest streak in school history. Virginia won six straight vs. #1 from 1992-96.

A look at UVa’s games against the #1 team are shown below. Virginia wins are listed in bold.

Year-#1 Opp.-UVa rank-Site-Winner, score
1973-Md.-#3-Towson-UVa, 10-9
1973-JHU-#2-A-JHU, 14-9
1974-Md.-#2-A-Md., 25-13
1975-JHU-#4-A-JHU, 10-9 (OT)
1976-Md.-#6-A-Md., 24-15 (OT)
1979-JHU-#4-A-JHU, 13-8
1979-JHU (NCAA)-#5-A-JHU, 16-7
1980-JHU-#8-H-UVa, 12-9
1981-JHU-#4-A-JHU, 15-13
1981-JHU (NCAA)-#4-A-JHU, 10-6
1983-JHU-#4-A-JHU, 12-6
1985-JHU-#4-A-JHU, 12-5
1985-JHU (NCAA)-#4-A-JHU, 11-8
1986-Md.-#7-A-UVa, 8-7 (OT)
1987-Md.-#6-H-Md., 12-5
1989-JHU-#9T-A-JHU, 12-3
1991-UNC-#5-H-UNC, 11-10
1992-JHU-#10-H-UVa, 15-9
1993-UNC-#7-H-UVa, 13-12 (OT)
1994-Syra.-#5-Md.-UVa, 15-14 (OT)
1995-Syra.-#2T-A-UVa, 15-7
1996-Syra.-#2-H-UVa, 17-15
1996-Md.-#3-H-UVa, 13-9

1996-Prince. (NCAA)-#3-Md.-Princeton, 13-12 (OT)
1997-Prince.-#3-A-Princeton, 14-13 (OT)
1998-Prince.-#5-H-UVa, 9-7
2001-Syra.-#3-A-SU, 13-7
2001-Md.-#7-H-UVa, 7-2
2002-JHU-#4-H-UVa, 12-6
2003-Syra.-#4-A-UVa, 16-15
2003-JHU (NCAA)-#2-Balto.-UVa, 9-7
2004-JHU-#17-H-UVa, 9-8 (OT)

Starsia’s Cavaliers vs. Higher Ranked Opponents
The Cavaliers moved back into the rankings last week after seeing their streak of 150 consecutive rankings end on March 15. They reappeared at #17 following a win over Towson and jumped to #10 this week by virtue of the overtime win over previously top-ranked Johns Hopkins.

The Johns Hopkins loss enabled Maryland to move into the top spot in this week’s poll, the Terps’ first #1 ranking since 2001 (when they lost to UVa).

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 21-20 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.

This season UVa is 2-2 vs. higher ranked teams and has won the last two.UVa is 10-13 against Maryland since 1971 when ranked lower than the Terps (4-3 under Starsia).

Hughes Named National Player of the Week
Defenseman was named Inside Lacrosse’s Division I Player of the Week this week for his play in the Cavaliers’ upset of then #1 Johns Hopkins last Saturday.

In a “must win” game against the top-ranked Blue Jays, Hughes completely shutout All-American attackman Kyle Barrie. Barrie, who failed to even take a shot, did not record any assists either and saw his 31-game scoring streak end.

Hughes and goalie anchored a relatively inexperienced defense that held Johns Hopkins to just 32 shots (15 below their average) and eight goals (six below their average).

Hughes has a history of shutting out top attackmen. Early last season he held Syracuse’s Michael Powell scoreless in a Cavalier win at the Dome.

Gilbert’s Wait Worth It
Sophomore was one of UVa’s top recruits coming in last season. An accomplished attackman in high school where he earned All-America status, he was moved to the midfield as a freshman last year and appeared in 16 games with a goal and eight assists.

He notched his only goal in the opener against Drexel, but had to wait more than a year to get his second.

But the wait ended up being worth it.

With the Virginia offense struggling a bit, head coach moved Gilbert into more of an attack position where he can better use his passing skills and speed to beat his man on the dodge.

Gilbert got his first of the year with less than 10 minutes to go in regulation to end Johns Hopkins’ three-goal run. The tally brought the Cavaliers to within a goal at 8-7. goal with 2:20 remaining sent the game into overtime.

Following a brilliant save by , the Cavaliers called timeout to set up a play. The play called for Gilbert to get isolated behind the cage on a short stick and if he could beat his man, go to the goal. That’s exactly what Gilbert did. He got a step on Benson Erwin and rammed a shot past Scott Smith, setting off a wild Cavalier victory celebration.

Gilbert, who assisted on a goal, finished with a career-high three points.

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.

He has gotten off to a fast start this season and leads the team in goals (15 and assists (9). His 24 points are six more than the next player ( has 18 points) and tied for 17th nationally. He is tied for 19th in the country with 15 goals.

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 13 games going back to last season, the longest streak on the team.

Misfiring on Scoring Opportunities
Virginia has not been a good shooting team this season, connecting on just 22.4 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 early last month, 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 UVa 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 the recent win over Towson when UVa made good on 21.4 percent (9×42) of its shots, a low percentage to be sure but enough to down the Tigers.

Virginia didn’t shoot very well in last Saturday’s upset of then #1 Johns Hopkins, but the Cavaliers managed to shoot enough and have some go in. Overall they shot 20.0 percent (9×45), the third game in a row below 22 percent.

In the Cavaliers’ three wins this season, they are shooting 24.8 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.

Man-Down Defense is Outstanding
One of the areas that has helped the Cavaliers end their recent four-game losing streak has been the play of their defense, particularly the man-down defense. Virginia is fifth in the country in man-down defense, killing 91.7 percent of its penalties (3×33).

Johns Hopkins failed to convert on six extra-man opportunities last week as the Cavaliers eked out a 9-8 overtime win over the nation’s top-ranked team.

That performance continued a recent trend for UVa. The Cavaliers have not given up an extra-man goal in their last 22 EMO situations going back to the Syracuse game.

Princeton gained a tight 8-7 win over UVa early last month, but it could have been worse had the Tigers converted on any of their eight EMOs.

Towson and Johns Hopkins both were 0x6 in EMO chances the last two games.

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

Beginning with the trip to Denver and the subsequent four-game losing streak the Cavaliers frequently played from behind. In fact, the Cavaliers trailed by more than 40 minutes in all three games leading up to the win over Towson that ended the losing skid. Even in that game, however, UVa led for a third of what Towson did (10:22 vs. 33:29).

Building on the momentum of the Towson win, the Cavaliers held then #1 Johns Hopkins in check last weekend in springing a 9-8 overtime upset. The game featured seven ties and four lead changes as neither team was able to build a lead of more than two goals as Virginia managed to keep the game close. The Blue Jays held the lead for just 15:09, the Cavaliers’ second-lowest trailing time of the year.

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 25 minutes only three times (including both losses), while having the lead for more than 35 minutes on 14 occasions.

This season Virginia has held the lead for fewer than 25 minutes in each of the last six games, but still managed to win the last two.

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 39.6 ground balls per game, down 8.8 per game from last season.

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

The performance against Princeton several weeks ago 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 two weeks ago 48-36, but the Cavaliers got a key GB on the overtime faceoff and used the possession to score the game winner.

The figures were nearly even last week against Johns Hopkins as the Blue Jays had 30 and UVa 29.

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.

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 8.86 goals per game. Other than a high-powered Syracuse team (18 goals), the Cavaliers have held their other six opponents to fewer than 10 goals, including Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays came into last week’s game averaging 14.2 goals per game, but were held to a season-low eight by the Cavaliers.

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.

Fans Get Their Money’s Worth
One of Virginia’s characteristics this season is playing close games; five games have been decided by one or two goals with the Cavaliers coming out on top the last two games (identical 9-8 overtime wins over Towson and Johns Hopkins).

The Cavaliers’ season got off to a rough start as they dropped two games in Denver by a combined three goals. They had their losing streak reach four following an 8-7 loss to Princeton.

Things have picked up recently due to consecutive 9-8 overtime wins over Towson and Johns Hopkins.

UVa’s 3-2 record in close games (which we’ll say are one- or two-goal games) is approaching last year’s 4-2 mark. Two years ago the Cavaliers were 5-3 in close games.

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 30-30 since 1993.

Turnovers Doom Cavaliers
One of the factors that contributed to UVa’s disappointing performance in Colorado earlier in the season 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.

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.

Johns Hopkins had fewer turnovers that UVa last week (14 vs. 16), but several were unforced and came at inopportune times that UVa was able to capitalize on.

Overall the Cavaliers average 20.3 turnovers per game this season, but just 18.0 per game in wins. During their losing streak the Cavaliers averaged 23.3 turnovers per game.

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