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May 7, 2004

Charlottesville, Va. –

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Game 13

#15 Virginia at Penn State
May 8, 2004 * 1 pm
Jeffrey Field * State College, Pa.

Game Info

The Records:
Virginia: 5-7/1-2 ACC
Penn State: 5-7/0-3 ECAC

The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
Virginia: 15/13
Penn State: not ranked

The Series vs. Penn State:
Overall: 5-1
Home: 4-0
Away: 1-1
Current Streak: W1
Biggest UVa Win: 11, 1950 (23-12)
Biggest PSU Win: 5, 2002 (13-8)
UVa Goals: 83
PSU Goals: 58
Starsia (UVa) vs. PSU: 2-1

Radio Coverage: The game is being broadcast on ESPN radio 1450 AM WMAJ in State College, Pa. Follow this link to listen to all the action.

The Series vs. the Nittany Lions
Virginia won the first four meetings with Penn State, before the Nittany Lions ended the Cavaliers’ winning streak with their only win in the series the last time the two teams met in State College two years ago. The Cavaliers returned to the win column by holding off a fierce Penn State comeback and gaining an 11-10 win in Charlottesville.

Penn State’s 13-8 win two years ago in the last time the teams met at Jeffrey Field was UVa’s worst loss in more than a year.

Last year’s 11-10 Virginia win marked the Cavaliers’ first one-goal win in the series since the first meeting in 1949. In between the Cavaliers won three straight (1950-74-95) by at least eight goals.

Championship Head Coaches Meet
Saturday’s game features a coaching match-up of the two head coaches who have guided Virginia to NCAA titles.

Penn State’s Glenn Thiel led the Cavaliers to their first NCAA championship in 1972, with a 13-12 win over Johns Hopkins in the finals. The Cavaliers finished with an 11-4 record that season, Thiel’s third in Charlottesville. He left UVa after the 1977 season to take over the coaching reins at Penn State. He compiled a 63-30 record at UVa and left as the Cavaliers’ all-time wins leader (but is now third). Thiel also led the Cavaliers to a USILA tri-national championship in 1970 in his first season at UVa.

Current head coach won the program’s second NCAA title in 1999 following a 12-10 win over Syracuse in the playoff finals and duplicated the feat with his second title last season. Starsia is in his 12th season at Virginia and is the school’s second-winningest coach with 130 wins.

Johnson Moves Up All-Time ACC List
is making his final collegiate appearance (and 58th consecutive start) between the pipes this Saturday against Penn State.

Last year’s Goalie of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championships, Johnson became UVa’s all-time leader in saves earlier this season, passing Rodney Rullman for the top spot. Rullman stopped 553 shots from 1972-75.

Johnson now turns his attention to moving up the ACC’s all-time list which is shown below. He is currently fourth and needs just three saves to move into third place all-time. A fabulous outing against the Nittany Lions (at least 22 saves) could vault him into second place.

Player, school, years…..Saves
1. Joe Kirmser, Duke, 1994-97…..843
2. Kevin O’Leary, Maryland, 1981-84…..705
3. Brian Dougherty, Maryland, 1993-96…..685
4. , UVa, 2001-pres……683

Ward on Scoring Binge
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 and has been the team’s leading scorer all season. Currently he is tied for 11th in the country in goals (2.50 gpg) and tied for 15th in scoring (3.50 ppg), both figures that rank third in the ACC.

Ward has led the team in goals seven times this season, including five of the first six games.

He was held without a goal by Maryland on April 3, ending his 13-game streak with a goal, but since then he’s been on a tear with 15 goals in the last four games.

Highlighting his recent success is a career-best six-goal effort against North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.

His six goals are the most by a Virginia attackman since Mark LaVerghetta scored six vs. VMI in 1996.

Revamped Attack Perks Up
With the offense struggling throughout the season, the coaching staff has tinkered with various combinations and changes in an effort to add more punch.

Undoubtedly the most prominent change was to work into the rotation at attack and shift to the midfield. The experiment began in midseason before Gilbert made his first start alongside and vs. Duke.

Against the Blue Devils the retooled attack tallied eight of the Cavaliers’ 13 goals for its most productive effort of the season to that point. Yevoli responded with three goals to end a two-game goal-less drought with his best effort in six games. Gilbert notched a career-high three goals to equal his total coming into the game. Ward scored twice.

The next time out against North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, the attack scored a season-high nine goals. Ward led the way with a career-best six tallies.

In the tourney finals vs. Maryland the attack scored five times against one of the nation’s leading defenses. It must be noted that the attack scored just once vs. the Terps in the season’s first meeting.

Prior to the changes the attack averaged 4.8 goals per game (9×43), but since then the unit is averaging 7.3 goals per game (3×22).

Something’s Gotta Give
Virginia and Penn State come into Saturday’s game on a collision course in one regard-extra man opportunities.

The Nittany Lions are currently seventh in the nation in extra-man offense, converting on 41.5 percent of their chances (17×41).

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, have been very stingy when playing at a disadvantage. They are sixth nationally in man-down defense, stopping 83.1 percent (49×59) of their opponents’ chances.

Virginia has allowed more than one EMO goal on just two occasions this season, both by North Carolina, one of the nation’s best EMO teams. The Tar Heels scored three times on EMO in an 11-9 regular-season win over UVa and tallied twice in a loss to UVa in the ACC Tournament.

At one point earlier this season the Virginia man-down defense stopped 22 consecutive EMO opportunities, including an 0-for-8 performance by Princeton and 0-for-6’s by both Towson and Johns Hopkins.

UVa’s offense hasn’t done a very good job recently making the opposition pay for its penalties. The Cavaliers have converted just two of their last 16 extra-man opportunities in the last six games and both goals occurred vs. Duke.

Giving Fans Their Money’s Worth
One of Virginia’s characteristics this season is playing close games; eight games have been decided by one or two goals with the Cavaliers coming out on top three times.

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 picked up following consecutive 9-8 overtime wins over Towson and Johns Hopkins.

This is the first time in three years the Cavaliers are below .500 in close games. They were 1-3 in 2001 when this year’s seniors were freshmen.

Under , the Cavaliers have had middling success in close games going 34-31 since 1993.

Poskay Leads the Way in the Midfield
Sophomore broke out of a mini-scoring drought with a season-high three goals against Duke three weeks ago. His three-goal effort is the best by a Cavalier middie this season.

He scored UVa’s final goal of the first half 3:12 before halftime, his first goal in three games.

Poskay scored twice late in the game for his first multigoal performance since scoring twice vs. Towson.

He is tied for fifth among ACC middies with 10 goals and tied for eighth with 13 points.

Two Cavaliers among Active ACC Leaders
Virginia features two of the leading active scorers in the ACC-Joe Yevoli and . Yevoli is the leader with 127 career points, while Christmas third behind UNC’s Jed Prossner with 112.

Yevoli also leads the way in career goals (80) and assists (47). Christmas is third in goals (75) and fourth in assists (37).

Sophomore is sixth among active conference players in both goals (56) and points (88).

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