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Feb. 24, 2006

Charlottesville, Va. –

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Game 3
#3 Virginia (2-0) vs. Stony Brook (0-0)
Feb. 25, 2006 • 1 pm
Klöckner Stadium • Charlottesville, Va.

Game Overview

Virginia plays its first game of the season at Klöckner Stadium Saturday at 1 pm against Stony Brook, in the first meeting of the two teams in six years.

The Cavaliers are off to a fast start this year with an unblemished 2-0 record. They look to start 3-0 for the third time in the last four years against the Seawolves.

Stony Brook is coming off a 10-6 finish last season. This is the Seawolves’ season opener.

Coach Meets Mentor, Part II

Stony Brook is coached by Lars Tiffany, in his second season at the helm of the Seawolves. He played collegiately at Brown where he was an defenseman and two-time team captain for current UVa coach Dom Starsia and graduated in 1990. He played on two Bear teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament (1987 & 1990) and was the co-MVP of the Brown team that captured its first-ever NCAA playoff victory in 1990.

Curiously, this is the second game in a row Starsia has coached against one of his former Brown players. The Cavaliers defeated Jamie Munro’s Denver Pioneer club 13-7 on Monday. Munro, a teammate of Tiffany at Brown, graduated from there in 1989.

Green Grass of Klöckner Bodes Well

After playing their first home game on Monday (13-7 win over Denver) on the UHall Turf Field, the Cavaliers make their 2006 debut at Klöckner Stadium Saturday against Stony Brook.

Virginia is riding a nine-game winning streak at Klöckner Stadium dating back to the 2004 season. Last year the Cavaliers were 7-0 at Klöckner, their best record ever there.

Overall Virginia is 56-12 (.824) at Klöckner since moving there in 1993.

Long Home Winning Streak

Last year’s national champion Johns Hopkins has gotten a lot of attention for its 36-game home winning streak, which is by far the longest streak in the nation. But the Cavaliers have quietly put together a 12-game home winning streak dating back to the 2004 season. Last season Virginia won all nine home games and began this season with Monday’s win over Denver at the UHall Turf Field.

The 12-game winning streak is UVa’s longest since a school-record 15-game run from 1994-96. Overall it is the third-longest streak in school history. Virginia won 13 consecutive home games from 1992-93.

The Cavaliers’ winning streak is also tied for the second-longest active streak in the country. The longest current streaks are listed below.

School, years                   Wins1. Johns Hopkins, 2001-pres.     362. Virginia, 2004-pres.          12   Duke, 2004-pres.              12

The Series vs. the Seawolves

Virginia has won both previous meetings against Stony Brook, both by big margins–24-3 in 1999 and 19-5 the following year.

Both games have been characterized by torrid shooting by Virginia and scoring droughts by Stony Brook.

In the 1999 match-up the Cavaliers scored 24 goals on 53 shots (45.3 percent), while the Seawolves failed to score in the final 35:06 of the game.

The Cavaliers were even hotter the next year despite a sloppy field on Long Island. Virginia scored on 57.6 percent (19 of 33) of its shots, while Stony Brook scored first and then did not score for the next 35:01. During that span Virginia scored 14 consecutive goals.

Fourteen different Cavaliers scored in the 1999 game, led by Jay Jalbert’s four goals. Jalbert led the way with four goals the next year as 12 different players scored for Virginia.

Quantity, Not Quality

The Cavaliers haven’t shot the ball particularly well through two games so far this season, so perhaps it’s a good thing they are shooting often. What they can’t do in quality, they do in quantity.

In the season opener against Drexel, the Cavaliers unleashed 61 shots and scored on 15 (24.6 percent).

Last Monday against Denver, Virginia took 58 shots and 13 found the back of the net (22.4 percent).

This is the first time since late in the 2001 season Virginia took 50+ shots in back-to-back games.

In addition, Virginia hasn’t won three consecutive games when shooting less than 25 percent since at least 1999.

Ward Joins Exclusive Club

Senior attackman Matt Ward has earned his way onto a select list of Virginia’s all-time greats. He has led the Cavaliers in goals the last two seasons and has notched at least one in 41 of 47 games in his career.

He scored a trio of goals in Monday’s win over Denver to become only the ninth player in school history to score at least 100 in a career; he is ninth with 101 goals.

Ward is also tied for fourth among active Division I players in goals. His place among active players is shown below.

Player, school, years                       goals1. Joe Walters, Maryland, 2003-06            1172. John Walker, Army, 2003-06                109   Matt Warner, Mount St. Mary's, 2003-06    1094. Matt Ward, UVa, 2003-06                   101   Merrick Thompson, Albany, 2004-06         101

Virginia Features Nation’s One-Two Scorers

Virginia’s offense is one of the top units in the country, led by returning starters on attack Matt Ward and Ben Rubeor. The offense also features standout freshman Danny Glading on attack, as well as a top midfield group that is in its third year as starters.

Rubeor is currently the nation’s leading scorer with 11 points (5.50/g), one point ahead of Ward. Glading is fourth in the country with eight points and is the leading rookie scorer.

Senior midfielder Matt Poskay and freshman attackman Garrett Billings are tied for seventh with five points.

Rubeor has pumped in seven goals in the two games to rank second in the country behind Delaware’s Marty Kupprion (8). Poskay is third with five, while Ward and Billings are tied for fourth with four scores.

Glading and Ward share the lead with six assists, with Rubeor close behind with four assists.

Overall Virginia is tied for second in offense with an average of 14.0 goals per game.

Starsia is UVa’s All-Time Wins Leader

In his 14th year at the helm of the Virginia program, head coach Dom Starsia has guided his Cavalier squads to many outstanding achievements, including two national championships.

Starsia’s list of accomplishments grew a bit last season when he passed former head coach Jim “Ace” Adams for the most wins in program history. Starsia now has a 143-54 (.726) record at UVa.

In addition to setting the school record for most wins, Starsia is eighth all-time (as best we can tell) in coaching wins at the Division I level. (This list includes only time spent coaching at the DI level, which is why Dave Urick, Carl Runk and several others are not listed.)

He is also one of three coaches to win 100+ games at two different schools. In addition to his 143 UVa wins, he won 101 games at Brown from 1983-92. Jack Emmer won 100+ games at both Washington & Lee and Army, while Urick topped the century mark at Hobart and Georgetown.

The list of the winningest all-time Division I coaches is below.

   Coach, school(s), years                        Wins1. Jack Emmer, Cortland, W&L, Army, 1970-pres.     3262. Dick Garber, UMass, 1955-90                     3003. Roy Simmons, Jr., Syracuse, 1971-98             2904. Jim Adams, Army, Penn, UVa, 1958-92             2845. Glenn Thiel, UVa, Penn State, 1970-pres.        2686. Richie Moran, Cornell, 1969-97                  2577. Roy Simmons, Sr., Syracuse, 1931-70             2538. Dom Starsia, Brown, UVa, 1983-pres.             244

Four Cavaliers on Tewaaraton Watch List

Michael Culver, Kyle Dixon, Kip Turner and Matt Ward have been named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List announced by the Tewaaraton Award Foundation. The Tewaaraton Award is given annually to the nation’s top player.

Culver is considered one of the top close defensemen in the country. A preseason second-team All-American by Face-Off Yearbook, he is starting for the third year in a row. Last year he shut down some of the nation’s leading attackmen and was one of only two defensemen named All-ACC. He scooped up a career-high 40 ground balls, tied for fourth among ACC defensemen.

Dixon is one of the nation’s most outstanding midfielders. His tremendous size and athletic ability make him a factor on both ends of the field. He was named a preseason second-team All-American by Face-Off Yearbook this year. Last season he finished second among ACC midfielders with 33 points and 17 assists.

Turner was one of the key performers in the Cavaliers’ run to the final four last season. He ranked sixth nationally in goals allowed average (7.15/g) and 10th in save percentage (.592) and was a preseason honorable mention All-American by Face-Off Yearbook this season.

Ward, a preseason second-team All-American by Face-Off Yearbook, is a team captain for the year this season. He was an All-ACC choice for the second time last year after leading the team in goals (38) and points (49). He has scored four goals this season to become the ninth player in school history to score 100 in a career; he has 101.

2006 Captains Named

Michael Culver, J.J. Morrissey and Matt Ward have been selected team captains for this season.

Culver, a senior defenseman from Ridgewood, N.J., enters his third season as a starter on close defense. Last season he was a third-team All-American and an All-ACC selection after shutting down some of the nation’s leading attackmen. He snared 40 ground balls, third among defensemen in the ACC.

Morrissey, a senior midfielder from Winchester, Mass., has been one of the team’s most underrated performers throughout his career. Primarily a short-stick defensive midfielder early in his career, he expanded his role on both ends of the field a year ago. He scored six goals and tallied seven assists for 13 total points. Morrissey was sixth in the ACC in ground balls with an average of 3.4 per game.

Ward, a senior attackman from Oakton, Va., is a captain for the second year in a row. He earned second-team All-American honors last spring after leading the team in goals (38) and points (49). He was 10th in the country in goals and has led the team the last two seasons. His 97 career goals are tied for 10th in UVa history.

Seven Receive Preseason All-American Nod

Seven Cavaliers have been named to the 2006 Face-Off Yearbook preseason All-American squad. A trio was named to the second-team–senior defenseman Michael Culver, senior midfielder Kyle Dixon and senior attack Matt Ward. Senior midfielder Matt Poskay, juniors defenseman Ricky Smith and goalie Kip Turner, and sophomore attack Ben Rubeor all received honorable mention recognition.

Culver is an aggressive shutdown defenseman who draws the opposition’s top attackman. He took over as the team’s stopper and had a tremendous year last spring, earning third-team All-American honors and was one of only two defensemen named All-ACC.

Dixon emerged as one of the nation’s top midfielders last year and was named a second-team All-American. He finished second among ACC midfielders with 33 points and 17 assists. His 16 goals tied for sixth among ACC middies.

Ward, a four-year starter, was the team’s offensive leader once again in `05. A powerful player who attacks the cage, he was the team leader in goals (38) and points (49), fifth with 11 assists. He finished third in the ACC and 10th nationally in goals (2.53/g) and sixth in the ACC in scoring (3.27 ppg).

Poskay was hobbled by a sore hamstring last season that limited him at practice but didn’t seem to affect him during games. His 29 goals last spring led ACC middies and tied for 10th all-time by a UVa midfielder. He led the team in goals on five occasions and scored at least three goals five times.

Smith is one of the rising stars on defense nationally. A first-time starter last season, he teams with Culver to give the Cavaliers two of the top defenders in the country. He started all 15 games last spring and snared a career-high 40 ground balls to tie for 18th in the ACC.

Turner was one of the key performers in the Cavaliers’ run to the final four last season. He recorded 137 saves last season, 12th most in school history by a first-time starter, while his .591 save percentage is third. Quick to the ball, he was sixth nationally in goals allowed average (7.15/g) and 10th in save percentage (.592).

Rubeor made an immediate impact in the line-up and was rated the #4 freshman last year by Inside Lacrosse. He led ACC freshmen with 16 assists and was second with 18 goals and 34 points. A terrific passer, he led the team in assists five times and placed sixth nationally among freshmen in assists and eighth in total points.

Starsia vs. Lower Ranked Opponents

Virginia comes into this game ranked third in the three preseason polls and fourth in Inside’s third weekly poll of the season. Since Dom Starsia took over the Virginia program in 1993, the Cavaliers have feasted upon lower or unranked opponents, winning 117 and losing only 27 (.813).

In home games, Starsia’s Cavaliers are an impressive 69-7 (.908) vs. lower/unranked opponents and have won 16 in a row.

Glazer Shines in First Starting Assignment

Senior faceoff midfielder Charlie Glazer made the first starting assignment of his career last week against Drexel and played a big role in the Cavaliers’ 15-7 win over the Dragons.

The Greenwich, Conn., native won 11 of 15 attempts (.733), all career-high figures. He also finished with four ground balls, the second-highest total of his career.

Glazer won five of seven draws in the first half to help UVa post a slim 5-4 lead at the break. Drexel tied the score early in the second half, but Glazer was spectacular winning five of six faceoffs as UVa scored eight unanswered goals that pushed the UVa lead to 13-5 at the end of the period. He won three straight faceoffs in a four-minute span that enabled the Cavaliers to maintain possession each time and score goals to extend the lead.

Two of his wins in the quarter resulted in quick fast break goals.

His third quarter performance was particularly impressive and allowed UVa to blow open a tight game.

Seasoned First Midfield Returns

The first midfield unit of Kyle Dixon, Matt Poskay and Drew Thompson returns for a third year as starters this spring.

After a rough beginning as a unit in 2004, they gelled last season and played a key role in the team’s dash to the final four. Among them they combined to score 56 goals and 23 assists in one of the most potent offensive units under head coach Dom Starsia.

Dixon was second among ACC midfielders with 17 assists, while tying for sixth in goals among league middies, and was one of six ACC midfielders to reach double figures in both goals and assists. He earned second-team All-American honors and is a preseason second-team All-American by Face-Off Yearbook this year.

Poskay was a force in front and possesses an amazing knack for getting an open shot. He notched 29 goals last spring to lead ACC midfielders despite playing the season with a sore hamstring that severely limited his practice time. Poskay is a preseason honorable mention All-American by Face-Off Yearbook.

Thompson had a breakout year as a sophomore in `05 and is one of the most complete midfielders in the nation. He was playing at a very high level at the end of last season and looks to build upon last year’s momentum. He was 10th among ACC middies in goals and could be the team’s primary faceoff man this year.

Slow Starts Plaguing Cavaliers

One disturbing characteristic of Virginia’s play last season was a tendency to start slowly. The Cavaliers finished eighth nationally in scoring (11.53/g), reached double figures 10 times and scored at least 15 goals on four occasions.

With such an impressive resume it’s curious to note that Virginia was not a very good offensive club in the first quarter throughout much of the season.

There were sporadic instances of fast starts, but generally UVa was rather poor coming out of the gate. The Cavaliers scored 30 first quarter goals in 15 games and were shut out five times.

The tendency to start slowly seems to be carrying over to this season as the Cavaliers are averaging just 2.0 goals in the first quarter.

Head coach Dom Starsia might care to act like the game starts in the third quarter because his squad has scored 14 goals (half the season’s total) in the two games so far this season in the period.

Culver Anchors Close Defense

Senior All-American Michael Culver headlines an experienced close defense in front of goalie Kip Turner this season.

He was the team’s main stopper for the first time last spring and shut down some of the nation’s leading attackmen.

In the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, he was matched against Albany’s Merrick Thomson, the nation’s leading goal scorer, and completely shut him down. Thomson came into the game with 54 goals on just 97 shots and managed to take only one shot against Culver late in the third quarter. (Thomson got a second shot later in the game against the Cavalier reserves, but didn’t score.) Thomson also didn’t record an assist and was a non-factor in the game.

Some of the others who found the going tough against Culver, include Maryland’s Joe Walters, who scored one goal and had one assist in two games vs. Culver, Jed Prossner of North Carolina who scored one goal, Peter LeSueur of Johns Hopkins (1 goal), and Navy’s leading scorer Nick Mirabito (1 goal).

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