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April 1, 2005

Charlottesville, Va. –

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Game 8
#3 Virginia vs. #4 Maryland
April 2, 2005 ** 3 pm
Klöckner Stadium ** Charlottesville, Va.

Game Overview
The Cavaliers look to get back on the winning track Saturday afternoon at home against Maryland. Virginia dropped a tough 9-7 decision to top-ranked Johns Hopkins last week at Homewood Field.

Virginia has won seven consecutive home games going back to last season and look to match its longest home winning streak since an eight-game run in 2002-03.

Saturday’s match-up kicks off Virginia’s ACC schedule. In a curious bit of scheduling the rest of the ACC has completed its league slate save for a game against the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers, 6-1 overall this season and currently ranked third, are off to their best start since going 9-1 three years ago.

The fourth-ranked Terrapins come into the game fresh off a 9-4 win over North Carolina last weekend. They have a 5-2 overall record and have split their two ACC games. Maryland’s two losses have come by a combined three goals. Both losses have occurred to “D” schools (Dartmouth, Duke).

This is the second year in a row Virginia has played Maryland after playing No. 1 Johns Hopkins the week before. The Cavaliers, no doubt, hope to reverse last year’s trend when they upset the Blue Jays 9-8 at home in overtime to knock them from the ranks of the unbeatens. UVa traveled to College Park the next week to face the Terrapins (who moved into the top spot in the polls due to the Hopkins’ loss) and dropped an 11-2 decision.

The reversal is holding true so far following last week’s loss at Johns Hopkins and a win Saturday over Maryland at home would complete the reversal.

Virginia hasn’t had such good luck in games following a match-up against the No. 1. The Cavaliers played the top-ranked team twice last season and lost the following week both times (Maryland, North Carolina).

UVa head coach Dom Starsia needs one win to tie Jim Adams as the school’s all-time winningest coach. Adams won 137 games for the orange-and-blue from 1978-92.

Junior attackman Matt Ward has scored at least two goals in the last 12 games (since last year’s regular season meeting vs. Maryland). He leads the nation with an average of 3.29 goals per game.

The Series vs. the Terrapins
Maryland leads the all-time series with Virginia by a 42-31 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).

Maryland has had the upper hand in games played in Charlottesville, winning 17 of 32 games. Virginia, however, has had the better of it at Klöckner Stadium by taking six of the eight games played there. The Terrapins won their first regular season game at Klöckner two years ago. (They also won an ACC Tournament game in 1998).

Maryland has won the last two regular season match-ups and four of the last six meetings overall. The Terps haven’t won three straight since 1997-98.Maryland’s 42 wins over Virginia are the second-most wins by any school over the Cavaliers. Johns Hopkins has defeated UVa 53 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 48 times, Washington & Lee 42 times and North Carolina 41 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 38-13 all-time in ACC openers. When their ACC opener is at home the Cavaliers are 19-6 all-time.

Rankings Don’t Mean Much vs. Terps
Virginia and Maryland have met 33 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 10 of the last 13 match-ups.

The higher ranked team has won the last three meetings. Maryland’s regular-season win two years ago is the last time the lower ranked team won. The Terps were seventh that day, while UVa was ranked second.

Man-Down Defense is Outstanding
One of the areas that has contributed to the Cavaliers’ 6-1 this season has been their outstanding man-down defense. Virginia has been whistled for an ACC-leading 5.14 penalties per game, giving the opposition plenty of chances for extra-man scores.

But with an experienced group that includes Rob Bateman, Steve Holmes, Michael Culver, Patrick Buchanan and Ricky Smith protecting sophomore goalie , Virginia has allowed just five extra-man goals in 35 tries and ranks fifth in the nation in man-down percentage (.143).

The defense has allowed extra-man goals in just three games (Syracuse, Princeton, Johns Hopkins).

The defense held Drexel to 0-for-5, Manhattan 0-for-3, Mount St. Mary’s 0-for-4 and Towson 0-for-10.

At one point from late in the Princeton game through the Towson game, Virginia did not give up an extra-man goal in 16 EMO situations.

Defense Among Nation’s Best
The Virginia offense has been electric so far this season, averaging 12.7 goals per game to rank second in scoring average.

The defense is determined not to be outdone this spring and has been especially stingy this spring. The Cavalier defenders–led by LSM Rob Bateman and close d-men Steve Holmes, Michael Culver and Ricky Smith and stopper Kip Turner-spearhead the nation’s fifth-leading defense. The Cavaliers relinquish an average of 6.14 goals per game. Only Syracuse (11) has scored more than nine goals vs. Virginia this season.

Manhattan, Mount St. Mary’s, Towson and Johns Hopkins all have scored their fewest goals of the season vs. Virginia, while Drexel and Princeton all have their second-lowest output of the season against the Cavaliers.

Of Virginia’s seven opponents this season, only Syracuse (11) has scored more against the Cavaliers than their season average.

UVa is the only team ranked in the top seven in the country in both defense (5th) and offense (2nd).

Slow Starts Plague Cavaliers
Virginia is second in the country this season in scoring with an average of 12.7 goals per game. The Cavaliers have reached double figures six times this season and scored at least 15 goals on two occasions.

With such an impressive resume it’s curious to note that Virginia has not been a very good offensive club in the first quarter, scoring just nine goals all season in the opening 15 minutes.

The Cavaliers haven’t scored in the first quarter of the last two games as their first quarter scoreless streak is up to 39:11. Their last first quarter score was a Drew Garrison goal with 9:11 remaining in the Mount St. Mary’s game. In addition to being blanked the last two, Virginia also failed to score in the first quarter of the Princeton game. UVa’s hottest start is a 3-goal outburst vs. Manhattan.

Perhaps there is something in the pregame meal that causes the slow starts because once the Cavaliers get past the first quarter they catch fire. Their scoring the rest of the way (listed by quarter) goes: 32-24-24.

Virginia has already scored more goals in the second quarter this year than all of last year (26).

A quarter-by-quarter comparison is below.

	1	2	3	4
2004: 30 26 32 29
2005: 9 32 24 24

Ward Leads Nation in Goal Scoring
Junior attackman Matt Ward has scored 23 goals in seven games and leads the nation with an average of 3.29 goals per game. He is bidding to become the first Cavalier to average three goals per game in nearly 10 years. In 1996 both Doug Knight (3.73/g) and Michael Watson (3.06) averaged at least three scores per game.

Ward has scored at least twice in every game in 2005 and has two 5-goal games (Drexel, Towson).

He has scored in the last 12 games dating back to this very same match-up against Maryland last spring. Curiously, Ward has scored just one regular season goal vs. Maryland (but 4 in the NCAA Tournament and 2 in the ACC tourney).

Ward’s 23 goals overall are tied for fourth in the nation. Duke freshman Zach Greer leads with 32.

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