Cavaliers Look for First ACC Win against North Carolina
April 9, 2004
Charlottesville, Va. –
#15 Virginia at. #5 North Carolina
April 10, 2004 * 1 pm
Fetzer Field * Chapel Hill, NC.
Virginia: 3-5/0-1 ACC
North Carolina: 5-3/1-1 ACC
The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
North Carolina: 5/6
The Series vs. North Carolina:
Current Streak: W4
Biggest UVa Win: 17, 1950 (17-0)
Biggest UM Win: 11, 1987 (18-7)
UVa Goals: 682
UNC Goals: 562
Starsia (UVa) vs. UNC: 14-4
The Series vs. the Tar Heels
Virginia leads the all-time series with North Carolina by a 40-23 margin. The Cavaliers’ 40 wins make the Tar Heels third on UVa’s list of most beaten opponents (UVa has defeated Duke 47 times and Washington & Lee 42 times). The series goes all the way back to two meetings in 1938 (when the teams split the contests). After a brief hiatus in the series in the ’50s and ’60s, the teams have met every season since 1964.
The Cavaliers have had remarkable success on the Tar Heels’ home field, winning 18 of 27 meetings in Chapel Hill through the years. UVa has won five of the last six games in Chapel Hill, including a narrow 10-9 triumph two years ago in the most recent game at Fetzer Field.
The Cavaliers gun for their fifth win in a row over the Tar Heels which would be their first five-game winning streak since 1997-2000.The teams have locked up in several nailbiters recently, including last season’s overtime decision won by the Cavaliers in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. In the last game in Chapel Hill two years ago, Virginia led the whole way but had to hold on for a 10-9 win that was decided only when Steve Will’s open shot at the buzzer was wide. Four of the last six games have been decided by two goals or less.
Virginia junior was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Year two years ago and led the conference with 26 assists last spring. He is currently tied for 25th in school history with 117 career points (72g, 45a).
His father, Joe, Sr., was an All-American attackman at North Carolina in 1977-78. The elder Yevoli led the Tar Heels both years in scoring (51, 38 points respectively) and assists (21, 25) and was the team leader in goals in 1977 (30).
He didn’t have his best performances vs. UVa, however. His Tar Heel clubs lost both match-ups to the Cavaliers. In the 1977 meeting he had a goal and an assist as UVa won 15-7. The following year he scored a single goal in UVa’s 9-8 overtime win.
The younger Yevoli led the Cavaliers in goals in both games vs. UNC as a rookie in 2002-two in the regular season and three in the ACC Tournament. He scored twice during last season’s contest and tallied two goals and an assist in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.
Current UNC coach John Haus, was a two-time All-American defenseman at UNC in the early 80s. He learned the nuances of defense play from his father, Bert, who was a standout D-man at UVa, lettering from 1957-59.
Starsia’s Cavaliers vs. Higher Ranked Opponents
The Cavaliers moved back into the rankings following the win over Towson three weeks ago after seeing their streak of 150 consecutive rankings end on March 15. They moved up to #10 after the win over then top-ranked Johns Hopkins, but fell five spots after losing to #1 Maryland last Saturday.
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 21-21 record under since 1993.
This is the first time in 10 years (a span of 15 meetings) that the Tar Heels have been the higher ranked squad. Virginia has won the last two when being ranked lower (1993, ’94), but is 4-9 since 1971 when ranked lower than the Tar Heels.
Hughes Named National Player of the Week
Defenseman was named Inside Lacrosse’s Division I Player of the Week two weeks ago for his play in the Cavaliers’ upset of then #1 Johns Hopkins.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.
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.
Gilbert got his first goal of the year with less than 10 minutes to go in regulation to end Johns Hopkins’ three-goal run in action two weeks ago. 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.
The ability to kill penalties was a contributing factor to the Cavaliers’ 9-8 overtime win over Johns Hopkins two weeks ago. The Blue Jays failed to convert on six extra-man opportunities as the Cavaliers eked out the win.
Ward Sees Scoring Streak End
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 got off to a hot start this season but saw his 13-game streak with a goal end last Saturday against Maryland. Nonetheless he remains the only Cavalier with more than 10 goals this season (15) and he’s tied with for the team lead with nine assists.
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.
Misfiring on Scoring Opportunities
Virginia has not been a good shooting team this season, connecting on just 21.2 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, 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.
Virginia didn’t shoot very well in the 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.
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 38.4 ground balls per game, down 10.0 per game from last season.
Virginia has been “out ground balled” six times this season (Air Force, Denver, Princeton, Towson, Johns Hopkins, Maryland), losing four. Last season Virginia was “out ground balled” only three times, but won each time.
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.
Beginning with 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 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 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.
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 moved past Rodney Rullman earlier this season to become UVa’s all-time career saves leader. He currently has 620 saves; Rullman stopped 553 shots during his career from 1972-75.
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 the four-game losing streak with a win over Towson several weeks ago due in part to cutting down on turnovers. They had fewer (24 vs. 20) and rallied from a 5-2 halftime deficit to gain a 9-8 overtime win.