Men's Lacrosse Hosts Towson Saturday at Klockner Stadium
March 18, 2005
Charlottesville, Va. –
#2 Virginia vs. #13 Towson
March 19, 2005 ** 1 pm
Klöckner Stadium ** Charlottesville, Va.
The Cavaliers are off to a 5-0 start this spring, their beststart since a similar start two years ago that was the springboard to thenational championship.
A victory over Towson Saturday afternoon would mark UVa’sbest start in nearly 10 years. The 1996 squad opened the season with sixconsecutive before suffering its first loss.
Virginia features the nation’s third-highest scoring offensewith an average of 13.6 goals per game. The Cavaliers have reached doublefigures in all five games so far, a feat they accomplished just five times alllast season. Their double-digit run is their longest since a nine-game streakin 2003.
The defense is also doing the job, limiting the oppositionto just 6.2 goals per game which is eighth nationally, while holding four offive opponents to fewer than 10 goals.
Towson is also off to its best start in several years with a4-1 record. The Tigers are undefeated away from home and are coming offTuesday’s 7-6 win over #14 Rutgers.
Virginia has won four straight over the Tigers, includinglast season’s 9-8 overtime win in Towson.
The Series vs. the Tigers
Virginia leads the all-time series by a 7-3 margin. Theschools met on an annual basis from 1972-77, but didn’t meet again until the1991 NCAA Tournament, a game Towson won 14-13 in Charlottesville.
A 10-year gap followed before the series resumed four yearsago with a 12-8 Cavalier victory, the first of four straight series wins forUVa. The four-goal margin in that game proved to be the biggest defeat theTigers suffered that season when they advanced to the final four.
Virginia’s 10-2 win two years ago in the most recentmatch-up in Charlottesville stands as the largest margin of victory in theseries. Overall UVa’s average victory margin is 4.7 goals (4.5 during currentfour-game winning streak). (This does not include the 1975 game which wasforfeited to Virginia, nor the 1976 game that was ruled a “no contest.”)
Two of Towson’s three series victories have been by one-goal(1977, `91). The Tigers’ three series wins have been by an average of 2.0goals.
Starsia Nears UVa Record, Tied for 10th All-Time
In his 13th year at the helm of the Virginia program, headcoach Dom Starsia has guided his teams to many outstanding achievements,including two national championships.
With the team off to a hot 5-0 start this season, Starsia isnow two wins away from tying Jim “Ace” Adams as the winningest coach in schoolhistory. Adams won 137 games (and lost 60) at Virginia from 1978-92; Starsiacurrently has a 135-50 record at UVa.
In addition to nearing the school record for most wins,Starsia is moving up the list of winningest Division I coaches all-time. He iscurrently tied with Bucknell’s Sid Jamieson for 10th.
Starsia is also one of three coaches to win 100+ games attwo different schools. In addition to his 135 UVa wins, he won 101 games atBrown from 1983-92. Jack Emmer won 100+ games at both Washington & Lee andArmy, while Dave Urick topped the century mark at Hobart and Georgetown. It’sinteresting to note all three coaches are active.
The list of the winningest all-time Division I coaches isbelow.
Coach,school(s), years Wins
1. Jack Emmer,Cortland, W&L, Army, 1970-pres. 317
2. DickGarber, UMass, 1955-90 300
3. RoySimmons, Jr., Syracuse, 1971-98 290
4. JimAdams, Army, Penn, UVa, 1958-92 287
5. DickEdell, Baltimore, Army, Maryland, 1973-2001 282
6. CarlRunk, Towson, 1969-97 257
7. GlennThiel, UVa, Penn State, 1970-pres. 261
8. RichieMoran, Cornell, 1969-97 257
9. RoySimmons, Sr., Syracuse, 1931-70 252
10. DomStarsia, Brown, UVa, 1983-pres. 236
SidJamieson, Bucknell, 1968-pres. 236
Already as Many Wins as Last Year
A win over Towson on Saturday would be Virginia’s sixth ofthe season, one more than last season when the Cavaliers missed the playoffsfor the first time since 1992 with a disappointing 5-8 record.
As fast as Virginia might reach last year’s win total,several teams have already won more than they did last year. Duke is undefeatedat 6-0 this spring after winning five times last year. Drexel and Lehigh bothwon four games in 2004 and have won five this year, while VMI was winless lastyear and has won two games already this season.
Virginia’s biggest improvement under Dom Starsia occurred in1999 when the Cavaliers won 13 games, five more than the previous season. Thefive-game improvement is tied with 1966-67 as the best one-season improvement inschool history.
Cavaliers First to Win Back-to-Back in the Dome
Virginia got a big win early this month by downing defendingnational champion Syracuse 12-11 at the Carrier Dome. The win is UVa’s secondin a row at the Dome; the Wahoos won 16-15 there two years ago. The Cavaliersare the first team to defeat Syracuse in back-to-back games at the Dome sincethe Orange began playing there 25 years ago.
Turner Stops 18 in Win over Syracuse
The two candidates to replace the graduated Tillman Johnsonin goal–Kip Turner and Bud Petit–have been running even since thebeginning of preseason drills. They split time in the cage during the threescrimmages and have continued the pattern in the season’s first month.
Turner started the Drexel game and played the opening 30minutes, making three saves, while giving up two goals. Petit went the wholeway in the second half. He saved the first shot he faced and finished withthree saves and allowed five goals.
The roles were reversed the next game against Manhattan.Petit got the start and finished with three saves in 30 scoreless first halfminutes. Turner took over after halftime and stopped four shots, while allowingjust two goals.
Turner started and went the whole way in big wins overSyracuse and Princeton.
His play was instrumental in the win over Syracuse at theCarrier Dome two weeks ago. He made 18 saves and allowed just 11 goals, thefewest the Orange has scored vs. UVa in the Dome in 10 years. The game featuredfive ties and four lead changes and Turner was a standout when it matteredmost. He made nine saves in the second half, including six in the fourthquarter as the Cavaliers came from behind in the final 12 minutes to win.
As he had against Syracuse, Turner let Princeton’s first twoshots get by him, but he settled down and helped lead UVa to an 11-7 win overthe Tigers last week. He recorded five saves, including four that came in thesecond quarter while the game was still close.
Turner got his third start in a row earlier this week vs.Mount St. Mary’s and made five saves (3 GA) in 54 minutes of action beforebeing replaced by Petit for the final six minutes. Petit gave up one goal andmade a save.
For the season, Turner has a .583 save percentage and allowsan average of 6.52 goals per game. Petit has a 5.45 GAA and a .538 savepercentage.
Ward’s Streak Reaches Double Figures
Matt Ward exploded for five goals (one off his career high)in the season opening win over Drexel. He has kept his goal-scoring binge goingthroughout the early part of the season and leads the team with 14 goals.
His outburst actually began late last season when he torchedNorth Carolina for five goals in a regular season match-up and then tallied sixtimes in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament vs. the Tar Heels.
This season he has scored at least twice in all five gamesto run his multi-goal streak to 10 games dating back to last season. During hiscurrent hot streak he has scored 32 goals (of the team’s 120), which is 26.6percent.
Ward’s 10-game streak of 2+ goals is the longest by aCavalier since Doug Knight puttogether a ridiculous 14-game streak in 1996. During Knight’s streak he scored55 of UVa’s 243 goals (22.6%). Knight’s streak included an 8-goal game, threeof 5 goals, four of 4 goals, four of 3 goals and two of 2 goals.
The junior from Oakton, Va., is tied for eighth in thenation in goals (14) and tied for 12th in points (18).
Ward Joins Christmas and Yevoli in Century Club
Junior attackman Matt Ward tallied four points (3g, 1a) vs.Manhattan to become the 36th Cavalier to register at least 100 points in acareer; he now has 110.
Along with current Cavaliers John Christmas and Joe Yevoli,Ward’s entrance in this exclusive club marks the first time since 2000 that theroster features three 100-point scorers (Conor Gill, Jay Jalbert and DrewMcKnight).
Ward began the season with 92 points and has erupted for 18 morein just five games. He has scored 73 goals and added 37 assists in just overtwo years. Ward is currently 31st on UVa’s career points list. The playersimmediately ahead of him are below.
22. Joe Yevoli, 2002-pres. 130
23. Jack Davies, 1962-64 129
24. John Christmas, 2002-pres. 127
27. Joe Dyer, 1956-58 117
RandyNatoli, 1979-82 117
29. Pete Eldredge, 1969-72 116
30. Rob Falk, 1990-93 111
31. Matt Ward, 2003-pres. 110
Offense Improved Over Last Year
One of the most surprising aspects of last season (besidesthe team’s losing record) was UVa’s inability to generate much offense. TheCavaliers averaged 9.2 goals per game, their lowest since 1967 (8.8) and almostthree fewer than they averaged during the 2003 national championship season.
The 2005 season is young and the competition has gotten moredifficult recently, but the offense has improved since last year. The Cavaliersare third in the nation in offense, averaging 13.60 goals per game. They openedwith 16 goals vs. Drexel, tallied 18 times against Manhattan, notched 12 vs.Syracuse and scored 11 against both Princeton and Mount St. Mary’s. Incomparison, last year’s high mark was a 15-goal performance against Drexel asthe Cavaliers scored at least 10 goals just five times all season.
Virginia hasn’t reached double digits in six consecutivegames since a 9-game run two years ago.
deVilliers Named ACC Player of the Week
Faceoff specialist Jack deVilliers was named the ACC Playerof the Week for his play in the Cavaliers’ 11-7 win over Princeton lastSaturday.
deVilliers, a senior captain from Lutherville, Md., helpedthe Cavaliers gain and maintain possession against the Tigers by winning 13 of21 faceoffs (.619), his best percentage against a ranked team in nearly twoyears. He also snagged a game-leading eight ground balls, his second-highesttotal of the season.
With the Cavaliers holding a slim 4-2 halftime lead, he wonnine of 13 draws (.692) in the second half as UVa opened an 11-5 lead in thefourth quarter on the way to the win.
He had difficulties at times last season, mirroring theteam’s performance, but picked up his play late by winning at least 50 percentin five of the last six games.
This season he’s been tremendous by winning 61 percent ofhis attempts this season (64×105) and leading the ACC with 36 ground balls.
In his fourth year as the team’s faceoff man, deVilliers isapproaching school records for most faceoffs taken (has 933) and won (has 501).Jason Hard is the record holder for attempts (949) and wins (539).
The NCAA is slowly compiling all-time records for lacrosseand in the initial list of faceoff wins, deVilliers is currently 10th. The listas it stands now is below.
Player,school, years Wins
1. SteveShaw, Delaware, 1983-86 838
…5. Peter Vlahakis,Fairfield, 2001-04 620
6. EricWedin, Johns Hopkins, 1998-01 584
7. JasonHard, UVa, 1997-00 539
8. JustinBerry, Towson, 1998-01 507
9. AddisonSollog, Cornell, 1999-02 503
10. JackdeVilliers, UVa, 2002-05 501
Improved Shooting Leads to Wins
The Cavaliers have done a much better job of shooting thisseason, which has enabled them to get off to a 5-0 start, their best in twoyears.
In the 16-7 win over Drexel in the opener, UVa scored on35.6 percent of its shots (16×45). That is the team’s best performance since a2003 NCAA Tournament match-up against Mount St. Mary’s, when they connected on38.8 percent of their shots (19×49).
They found the back of the net 34 percent of the time(18×53) against Manhattan, marking the first time since 2003 they hit at least30 percent in back-to-back games.
The team ran the good shooting streak to three games for thefirst time in three years in the win over Syracuse when they scored 12 times onjust 38 shots (.316).
Virginia had its best shooting performance against Princetonin three years by shooting 31.4 percent (11×35) in last week’s win, the fourthgame in a row above 30 percent.
The Cavaliers didn’t shoot the ball very well at all Tuesdayvs. Mount St. Mary’s (22.4 percent), instead using a superior talent base togain an 11-4 win.
When the Cavaliers shoot at least 30 percent they have hadremarkable success recently. Last year they were only 5-8 overall, but had a2-1 record when shooting 30 percent or better. Since 2000 Virginia is 30-5(.857) when shooting 30+ percent.
Christmas in March
Senior attackman John Christmas was one of the nation’s mostexciting players during his freshman and sophomore seasons. He scored 29 goalsand 44 points in 2002 to earn National Rookie of the Year honors by InsideLacrosse. As a sophomore he notched 36 goals and 48 points in helping guide UVato the national championship.
Last season he struggled throughout the year, resulting in adrop off in production to 11 goals and 10 assists.
If his early season play is any indication, he’s back to hisold self. He didn’t play in the opener due to a team related matter, but scoredthree times in his first action vs. Manhattan. He had his second hat trick in arow against Syracuse, his first back-to-back hat tricks since late in 2003. Inlast week’s win over Princeton, he shared the team lead with two assists, whilealso scoring a goal.
Christmas had another 1-and-2 performance Tuesday nightagainst Mount St. Mary’s, his fourth game in a row with at least three points.The current streak is his longest since he had a four-game run two years ago.
His eight goals rank third on the team, while his 14 totalpoints (8g, 6a) are second.
Christmas needs just three goals to equal his total fromlast year. Another area of improvement is his shooting. This season he isshooting 28.5 percent (8×28), a marked improvement over last season (17.2).
First Midfield Much Improved in `05
The first midfield unit of Kyle Dixon, Matt Poskay and DrewThompson is in its second year of playing together. Last spring they haddifficulty being consistent throughout the season. This season is a wholedifferent story, however, as the first group has been one of the key componentsto the Cavaliers’ 5-0 start.
In the opener vs. Drexel they had the best effort ever as aunit. Together they combined for seven goals and three assists in theCavaliers’ 16-7 win. This is in contrast to their best effort last year of fourgoals and two assists on two occasions. Poskay scored four times, whileThompson netted a pair as both players established career highs against theDragons. Dixon tallied a career-high three assists. Poskay’s four goals are themost by a Cavalier middie since A.J. Shannon scored four against Johns Hopkinsin the 2003 national championship game.
They put together another strong effort vs. Manhattan,combining for four goals and four assists in an 18-2 win. Dixon led the scoringparade with a goal and tied his career high with three assists. Thompson alsoequaled his career high with two goals and an assist, while Poskay scored once.
Poskay was high man in the 12-11 upset of Syracuse in theCarrier Dome with four goals. Dixon had a goal and an assist, while Thompsontallied an assist.
All three scored vs. Princeton last week with Poskay leadingthe way with two goals, while Dixon’s 1-goal, 1-assist log marked the fourthgame in a row he had at least one goal and one assist.
Dixon is currently tied for eighth in the country with eightassists, which is second nationally among midfielders (behind Jordan Hall fromDelaware with 12). Poskay is tied for 16th with 11 goals, tied for fourth inthe country among middies.
Bateman Shines in UVa Debut
Preseason All-American Rob Bateman didn’t seem to let ayear’s layoff slow him down against Drexel in the season’s first game. The PennState graduate sat out last season with an injury and transferred to UVa to usehis 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 madeseveral big strips on the defensive end and shared the team lead with sevenground balls.
He is tied for the team lead (with Michael Culver) amonglong sticks with 17 ground balls this season.
Three Cavaliers on Tewaaraton Watch List
Rob Bateman, John Christmas and Matt Ward have been named tothe Tewaaraton Award Watch List 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 midfieldersin the country. A preseason second-team All-American by Face-Off Yearbook, he is using his final season of eligibility at UVain 2005. He graduated from Penn State last spring and redshirted the season dueto an injury. He earned All-American honors in 2002 and 2003 and led the ECACin ground balls both years.
Christmas has been one of the nation’s most dynamic playersthroughout his career. He scored 11 goals and added 10 assists last season torank third on the team. He entered this season fourth among active ACC playersin both goals (76) and points (113).
Ward earned preseason second-team All-American honors by Face-OffYearbook this season. He was named athird-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 theteam in those three categories.
The Tewaaraton Trophy will be presented at the annualbanquet on June 2 at the National Geographic Society headquarters inWashington, D.C.
Eight Named Preseason All-American
Eight Cavaliers have been named to the 2005 Face-OffYearbook preseason All-American squad. Twowere named to the second-team–senior longstick midfielder Rob Bateman andjunior attackman Matt Ward. Senior attackmen John Christmas and Joe Yevoli,junior defensemen Michael Culver and Steve Holmes, senior faceoff specialistJack deVilliers and junior midfielder Kyle Dixon received honorable mentionrecognition.
Bateman transferred from Penn State, where he received hisundergraduate degree after redshirting last season. He is playing as a graduatestudent this season. He was a two-time All-American at Penn State and helpedlead the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003.
Ward scored 59 goals in his first two years to become justthe seventh player in school history to score at least 50 goals as a sophomore.Overall he has scored at least once in 30 of 35 career games.
The ever dangerous Christmas is one of the nation’s quickestattackmen, and always draws the opposition’s top defenseman. His numbers weredown a bit last season with 11 goals and 10 assists, and a return to his pastlevel of play will go a long way toward propelling UVa back into the nationalchampionship picture. Yevoli hasn’t been able to go this spring due to aninjury and he could be redshirted this season.
Culver and Holmes are underrated performers who have beenovershadowed on the Cavalier defense by Brett Hughes and Tillman Johnson in thepast. They are both athletic and aggressive and were among the leading ACCdefensemen in ground balls a year ago.
deVilliers is listed among the nation’s top faceoff men and rankssecond in the UVa record book behind Jason Hard in both wins (501) and attempts(933). He finished last year on a high note, winning at least 50 percent infive of the last six games.
Dixon had an outstanding fall season and has stepped up hisproduction this spring. He was one of four ACC midfielders to reach doublefigures in goals (10) and assists (11).
Captains Named for 2005
deVilliers enters his fourth season as the team’s primaryfaceoff specialist. A preseason honorable mention All-American by Face-OffYearbook, he is among the top performers inschool history. He is second in school history with 501 wins and 933 attempts.deVilliers has led the team in ground balls the last two years, the firstCavalier to do so since David Jenkins led from 1999-2001.
Holmes returns as a starter on close defense. A veryathletic player, he can also play longstick midfielder if needed. Last seasonhe started the final 12 games and led the team’s longsticks with 45 groundballs, third among ACC longsticks.
Thompson returns after two years away from the program. Hewas not in school last season and served as the head assistant coach at nearbyWoodberry Forest school. An emotional leader, he scored three goals in fourappearances in 2002.
Ward led the team in goals (33), assists (13) and totalpoints (46) last year, the first player to lead the team in all threecategories since 1999. A powerful attackman, he earned preseason second-teamAll-American honors from Face-Off Yearbookthis year.
Conor Gill Moves Into Full-time Coaching Position
Gill graduated from UVa in 2002 with a degree in sociologyand has remained close to the Cavalier program since. He served as a volunteerassistant last season. His brother, Brendan, is a senior attackman this year,while another younger brother, Gavin, has signed to play at UVa next season.
One of the greatest players in school history, Gill was athree-time All-American during his career and helped guide the Cavaliers tothree final four appearances.
He was the first freshman selected Most Outstanding Playerof the NCAA Championships in 1999 after leading the Cavaliers to their firstnational title in 27 years. In one of the most amazing performances intournament history, Gill scored a career-high five goals–all in a span of3:08 in the first quarter–to lead UVa to 16-11 win over Johns Hopkins inthe semifinals. In the finals, against Syracuse, he tallied two goals and assistedon UVa’s final goal as the Cavaliers claimed the championship with a 12-10victory.
Gill was a three-time All-ACC selection and a two-timeAll-ACC Tournament selection. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 1999 andMost Valuable Player of the 2000 ACC Tournament.
Voted one of the 50 greatest players in Atlantic CoastConference history, he finished tied for second in assists (146) and seventh incareer points (223) in league history.
A native of Lutherville, Md., Gill was a prep lacrossestandout at St. Paul’s School, where he set school records for points in aseason and a career.
He has played with the Boston Cannons of Major LeagueLacrosse the last three seasons. Last year he was named the league’s Most ValuablePlayer 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 ofthe Year that season.
Bateman Transfers to UVa
The Cavalier defense gained a boost during the offseasonwhen former Penn State All-American LSM Rob Bateman decided to use his finalyear of eligibility in Charlottesville.
He redshirted last season and, after receiving his degree inreal estate from Penn State last spring, made the move south.
With an uncanny knack for disrupting an offense, he earnedsecond-team All-American honors two years ago while guiding the Nittany Lionsto their first NCAA Tournament appearance ever. That season he had 90 groundballs, 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 theCavaliers. In 2003 he snared 10 ground balls in a narrow 11-10 UVa win. As asophomore 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 5.9GBs per game coming into this season.
Ward First Since `99
Junior attackman Matt Ward earned third-team All-Americanaccolades last season after leading the team in goals (33), assists (13) andpoints (46). By leading in all three categories he became the first player tobe the team’s leader in each since Tucker Radebaugh in 1999.
He has scored 73 career goals, and was one of seven playersin school history with at least 50 through his sophomore year.
Ward has scored at least one goal in 30 of 35 career games.He notched two goals against Princeton to become the 25th Cavalier to score 70in a career.
He surpassed the 100-point mark vs. Manhattan and is 31st inschool history with 110 points.
Steady Gill Gets Another Start
Brendan Gill hasn’t gotten a whole lot of playing time inhis career, but he has used his experience and keen sense of the game to take advantageof opportunities when they arise. Praised for his consistency by the coachingstaff, he has served as the fourth attackman throughout his career.
This season he has seen extensive action in every game,including two where he had to replace freshman Ben Rubeor, who got injured bothtimes.
After Rubeor injured his ankle early against Syracuse, Gillentered the game. He contributed a goal midway through the second quarter andassisted on John Christmas’ goal with 3:03 remaining in the game that proved tobe the difference. Gill’s 1-and-1 performance was his second in a row.
He started vs. Princeton last week, but gave way early on asRubeor made a quick recovery.
Rubeor got hurt last Tuesday against Mount St. Mary’s for thesecond time in three games, with Gill moving into the vacated spot. The seniorprovided a spark to what had been a lackluster attack to that point in the gameand finished with a goal and a career-high two assists.
Gill is fourth on the squad with five assists (a careerhigh) and has scored three goals (also a career high).
He is expected to start Saturday vs. Towson, the third startof his career. He started the opener against Drexel, as well as the Princetongame.
Topping Last Year’s Performance
The rejuvenated play of several players has contributedsignificantly to the Cavaliers’ hot 5-0 start.
Of the nine active players who scored last year, five havealready equaled or surpassed their goal total from last year, while several arenearing their 2004 performance even though this season isn’t halfway yet.
The list of these players is below.
Player `04goals `05goals
M Drew Thompson 1 5
M Jared Little 3 6
M Matt Poskay 11 11
M J.J. Morrissey 2 2
A Matt Ward 33(2.5/game) 14(2.8/game)
A John Christmas 11 8
M Kyle Dixon 10 5
M Hunter Kass 4 2
LSM Chris Ourisman 1 0