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Feb. 25, 2005

Charlottesville, Va. –

Game 2
#8 Virginia vs. Manhattan
Feb. 26, 2005 • 1 pm
UHall Turf Field • Charlottesville, Va.

The Series vs. the JaspersThis is the first meeting between the two schools. Manhattan is Virginia’s only first-time opponent this season.

Manhattan has been playing lacrosse since 1996 and is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (along with Canisius, Mount St. Mary’s, Marist, Providence, St. Joseph’s, Siena, VMI and Wagner). Among MAAC members, Mount St. Mary’s is the only school the Cavaliers have played. They defeated Mount St. Mary’s 19-8 in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament en route to the national championship. Virginia is 12-0 all-time vs. VMI, but none of those meetings occurred when the Keydets were members of the MAAC.

Sharing a Common OpponentVirginia and Manhattan have one opponent in common this season–Mount St. Mary’s. The Cavaliers host the Mount on March 15, while the Jaspers have a home conference game vs. the Mount on April 30.

It’s curious to note that this is the eighth time in the last nine years the teams have had at least one common opponent. Last year was the only time since 1997 that they didn’t share an opponent.

Mercyhurst was the common foe in 1997-98, Stony Brook in 1999-2000, Ohio State in `01, Drexel in 2002, and Denver and Mount St. Mary’s in 2003.

Cavaliers at U-Hall Turf FieldThe Manhattan game is the Cavaliers’ second in a row at the UHall Turf Field. Virginia opened with a 16-7 win over Drexel last weekend.

Virginia has frequently played early-season games on the turf field since 1996. The Cavaliers gained a thrilling 17-15 win over Syracuse to open the 1996 season in the first game on the home turf field. They downed Princeton 12-9 the following week to set the tone for their play on the artificial surface.

Overall Virginia is 14-1 in games played at the facility. The only loss was a tough 18-17 overtime loss to #2 Syracuse to open the 1998 season.The Cavaliers have won nine in a row at the UHall Turf Field.

Ward Runs Streak to Six StraightMatt Ward exploded for five goals (one off his career high) in last Sunday’s win over Drexel. The performance was his sixth multi-goal game in a row dating back to last season. During his streak he has scored 23 goals (of the team’s 68).

His six-game streak of 2+ goals is the longest by a Cavalier since Joe Yevoli had a 7-game run in mid-2002. (Doug Knight put together a ridiculous 14-game multi-goal streak in 1996 which is the most recent run longer than seven games.)

Ward Eyes Century ClubJunior attackman Matt Ward is two points away from becoming the 36th Cavalier to register at least 100 points in a career.

Along with active Cavaliers John Christmas and Joe Yevoli, Ward’s inclusion in this exclusive club would mark the first time since 2000 that the roster featured three 100-point scorers (Conor Gill, Jay Jalbert and Drew McKnight).

Ward began the season with 92 points and erupted for six more in last week’s opener vs. Drexel. He has scored 64 goals and added 34 assists in two years plus one game.

Ward is currently 36th on UVa’s career points list. The players immediately ahead of him are below.

    Player, years            points30. Rob Falk, 1990-93          11131. Andy Kraus, 1987-89, `91   10732. Greg Traynor, 1992-95      10633. Henry Peterson, 1959-61    10434. Scott Gerham, 1981-84      10235. Butch McCleary, 1958-60    10136. Matt Ward, 2003-pres.       98

Goalies Each Go 30 in OpenerThe two candidates to replace the graduated Tillman Johnson in goal–Kip Turner and Bud Petit–have been running even during preseason drills. They split time in the cage during the three scrimmages and continued the pattern in the season opener vs. Drexel.

Sophomore played the opening 30 minutes and recorded three saves, while giving up two goals.

Redshirt freshman Bud Petit went the whole way in the second half. He saved the first shot he faced and finished with three saves and allowed five goals.

First Midfield Turns in Solid Effort in OpenerThe first midfield unit of Kyle Dixon, Matt Poskay and Drew Thompson is in its second year of playing together. In last week’s opener vs. Drexel they had the best effort ever as a unit. Together they combined for seven goals and three assists in the Cavaliers’ 16-7 win over Drexel.

This is in contrast to their best effort last year of four goals and two assists on two occasions.

Poskay scored four times, while Thompson netted a pair as both players established career highs against the Dragons. Dixon tallied a career-high three assists. Poskay’s four goals are the most by a Cavalier middie since A.J. Shannon scored four against Johns Hopkins in the 2003 national championship game.

Bateman Shines in UVa DebutPreseason All-American Rob Bateman didn’t seem to let a year layoff slow him down last week vs. Drexel. The Penn State graduate sat out last season with an injury and transferred to UVa to use his final year of eligibility.Showing a remarkable ability to run the field, he led a fast break and fed Matt Ward for a fourth quarter goal.

He also made several big strips on the defensive end and shared the team lead with seven ground balls.

Improved Shooting Leads to WinThe Cavaliers did a much better job of shooting in the win over Drexel than they ever did last season. In the 16-7 win over the visiting Dragons, Virginia scored on 35.6 percent of its shots (16×45). That is the team’s best performance since a 2003 NCAA Tournament match-up against Mount St. Mary’s. In a first round win that day the Cavaliers connected on 38.8 percent of their shots (19×49).

When the Cavaliers shoot at least 30 percent they have had remarkable success recently. Last year they were only 5-8, but had a 2-1 record when shooting 30 percent or better. Since 2000 Virginia is 27-5 (.844) when shooting 30+ percent.

Virginia hasn’t shot 30 percent or better in back-to-back games since the first two games of 2003 (Drexel, Syracuse).

Three Cavaliers on Tewaaraton WatchlistRob Bateman, John Christmas and Matt Ward have been named to the Tewaaraton Award Watchlist announced by the Tewaaraton Award Foundation. The Tewaaraton Award is given annually to the nation’s top player.

Bateman is considered one of the top longstick midfielders in the country. A preseason second-team All-American by Face-Off Yearbook, he is using his final season of eligibility at UVa in 2005. He graduated from Penn State last spring and redshirted the season due to an injury. He earned All-American honors in 2002 and 2003 and led the ECAC in ground balls both years.

Christmas has been one of the nation’s most dynamic players throughout his career. He scored 11 goals and added 10 assists last season to rank third on the team. He enters this season fourth among active ACC players in both goals (76) and points (113).

Ward earned preseason second-team All-American honors by Face-Off Yearbook this season. He was named a third-team All-American last season after leading the team in goals (33), assists (13) and points (46), becoming the first player since 1999 to lead the team in those three categories.

The Tewaaraton Trophy will be presented at the annual banquet on June 2 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Eight Receive Preseason All-American RecognitionEight Cavaliers have been named to the 2005 Face-Off Yearbook preseason All-American squad. Two were named to the second-team–senior longstick midfielder Rob Bateman and junior attackman Matt Ward. Senior attackmen John Christmas and Joe Yevoli, junior defensemen Michael Culver and Steve Holmes, senior faceoff specialist Jack deVilliers and junior midfielder Kyle Dixon received honorable mention recognition.

Bateman transferred from Penn State, where he received his undergraduate degree after redshirting last season. He is playing as a graduate student this season. He was a two-time All-American at Penn State and helped lead the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003.

Ward scored 59 goals in his first two years to become just the seventh player in school history to score at least 50 goals as a sophomore. Overall he has scored at least once in 26 of 31 career games.

The ever dangerous Christmas is one of the nation’s quickest attackmen, and always draws the opposition’s top defenseman. His numbers were down a bit last season with 11 goals and 10 assists, and a return to his past level of play will go a long way toward propelling UVa back into the national championship picture. Yevoli hasn’t practiced yet this spring due to an injury and his status for this season is undetermined.

Culver and Holmes are underrated performers who have been overshadowed on the Cavalier defense by Brett Hughes and Tillman Johnson in the past. They are both athletic and aggressive and were among the leading ACC defensemen in ground balls a year ago.

deVilliers is listed among the nation’s top faceoff men and ranks second in the UVa record book behind Jason Hard in both wins (449) and attempts (853). He finished last year on a high note, winning at least 50 percent in five of the last six games.

Dixon had an outstanding fall season and should be ready to step up his production. He was one of four ACC midfielders to reach double figures in goals (10) and assists (11).

Captains Named for 2005Senior faceoff midfielder Jack deVilliers, junior defenseman Steve Holmes, senior midfielder Joe Thompson and junior attackman Matt Ward have been named team captains this season.

deVilliers enters his fourth season as the team’s primary faceoff specialist. A preseason honorable mention All-American by Face-Off Yearbook, he is among the top performers in school history. He is second in school history with 449 wins and 853 attempts. deVilliers has led the team in ground balls the last two years, the first Cavalier to do so since David Jenkins led from 1999-2001.

Holmes returns as a starter on close defense. A very athletic player, he can also play longstick midfielder if needed. Last season he started the final 12 games and led the team’s longsticks with 45 ground balls, third among ACC longsticks.

Thompson returns after two years away from the program. He was not in school last season and served as the head assistant coach at nearby Woodberry Forest school. An emotional leader, he scored three goals in his four appearances in 2002.

Ward led the team in goals (33), assists (13) and total points (46) last year, the first player to lead the team in all three categories since 1999. A powerful attackman, he earned preseason second-team All-American honors from Face-Off Yearbook this year.

Conor Gill Moves Into Full-time Coaching PositionFormer UVa standout Conor Gill has moved into the second assistant’s position on Dom Starsia’s staff, replacing David Curry, who resigned following last season to pursue other interests.

Gill graduated from UVa in 2002 with a degree in sociology and has remained close to the Cavalier program since. He served as a volunteer assistant on Starsia’s staff last season. His brother, Brendan, is a senior attackman on this year’s squad, while another younger brother, Gavin, has signed to play at UVa next season.

One of the greatest players in school history, Gill was a three-time All-American during his career and helped guide the Cavaliers to three final four appearances.

He was the first freshman selected Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championships in 1999 after leading the Cavaliers to their first national title in 27 years. In one of the most amazing performances in tournament history, Gill scored a career-high five goals–all in a span of 3:08 in the first quarter–to lead UVa to 16-11 win over Johns Hopkins in the semifinals. In the finals, against Syracuse, he tallied two goals and assisted on UVa’s final goal as the Cavaliers claimed the championship with a 12-10 victory.

Gill was a three-time All-ACC selection and a two-time All-ACC Tournament selection. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 1999 and Most Valuable Player of the 2000 ACC Tournament.

Voted one of the 50 greatest players in Atlantic Coast Conference history, he finished tied for second in assists (146) and seventh in career points (223) in league history.A native of Lutherville, Md., Gill was a prep lacrosse standout at St. Paul’s School, where he set school records for points in a season and a career.

He has played with the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse the last three seasons. Last year he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player after leading the league in points (67) and assists (record-tying 40). The second player picked in the 2002 draft, he was named the league’s Rookie of the Year that season.

Starsia vs. Lower Ranked OpponentsVirginia comes into this game ranked eighth in the Face-Off Yearbook coaches’ preseason poll, while Manhattan is unranked.

Since Dom Starsia took over the Virginia program in 1993, the Cavaliers have feasted upon lower or unranked opponents, winning 108 games and losing only 26 (.806).

In home games, Starsia’s Cavaliers are an impressive 60-7 (.896) vs. lower/unranked opponents. The Cavaliers haven’t lost to an unranked division I team at home since at least 1969.

Virginia in the Preseason PollsThe Cavaliers are ranked eighth in the Face-off Yearbook coaches preseason poll and sixth in Lacrosse magazine’s preseason poll.

Virginia’s schedule is ranked second toughest in the nation by Face-off Yearbook behind Johns Hopkins. UVa faces five of the nine other teams ranked in the top 10 of the Face-off poll and eight teams overall listed among the top 25.

Yevoli’s Status UncertainSenior attackman Joe Yevoli has not taken part in any team drills since the end of last season due to a lingering injury. He missed fall ball and hasn’t practiced yet this spring. His status is undetermined at this time and it would not be unexpected that he redshirt this season as a result.

His loss causes a hit to the attack. He has scored 82 goals and added 48 assists in his career.

Bateman Transfers to UVaThe Cavalier defense gained a boost during the offseason when former Penn State All-American LSM Rob Bateman decided to use his final year of eligibility in Charlottesville.

He redshirted last season and, after receiving his degree in real estate from Penn State last spring, made the move south.

With an uncanny knack for disrupting an offense, he earned second-team All-American honors two years ago while guiding the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA Tournament appearance ever. That season he had 90 ground balls, fifth in the country.

For UVa head coach Dom Starsia, it was “if you can’t beat `em, join `em,” as Bateman had several terrific performances against the Cavaliers. In 2003 he snared 10 ground balls in a narrow 11-10 UVa win. As a sophomore in 2002, he scored two goals and had an assist in the Nittany Lions’ 13-8 win over the Cavaliers. He also had nine GBs in that game.

One of the nation’s leading ground ball men, he averaged 5.9 GBs per game coming into this season.

deVilliers Closes in on RecordsSenior captain Jack deVilliers is in his fourth season as the team’s leading faceoff specialist. He was named an honorable mention preseason All-American by Face-Off Yearbook and a return to his form of two years ago will be a key element in the Cavaliers’ attempt to return to the national playoffs.

During UVa’s national championship season in 2003 he won nearly 60 percent of his attempts. His success rate fell to 49 percent last spring, but he closed the year on a high note by winning at least 50 percent in five of the last six contests.

He is one of the leading faceoff specialists in school history and is closing in on Jason Hard’s school records for most wins and attempts in a career.

Hard took 949 draws in his career and won 539. deVilliers has been in on 853 faceoffs, winning 449.

Rubeor Gains Staring NodWith Joe Yevoli out so far with an injury, freshman Ben Rubeor has moved into the starting lineup on attack and played like a seasoned veteran during preseason scrimmages and early season games.

He scored the game winner in the waning moments of a fall ball scrimmage against national runner-up Navy in Virginia Beach in October.

During UVa’s three scrimmages earlier this month he was the team’s leading scorer with eight goals and two assists.

He scored once and had three assists in his debut vs. Drexel last weekend.

Rubeor joins a long line of freshmen who have made a mark on the Cavalier attack. Among the freshmen who have starred under head coach Dom Starsia include seniors John Christmas and Joe Yevoli, junior Matt Ward, current assistant coach and MLL MVP Conor Gill, and All-Americans Doug Knight, Drew McKnight, Michael Watson and Tim Whiteley.

Ward First Since `99 Junior attackman Matt Ward earned third-team All-American accolades last season after leading the team in goals (33), assists (13) and points (46). By leading in all three categories he became the first player to be the team’s leader in each since Tucker Radebaugh in 1999.

He has scored 64 career goals, and was one of seven players in school history with at least 50 through his sophomore year.

Ward has scored at least one goal in 26 of 31 career games. He notched five goals against Drexel to become the 40th Cavalier to score 60 in a career.He also needs just two points to become the 36th player to reach the century mark

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