Top-ranked Men's Lacrosse Hosts Johns Hopkins Saturday at Klockner Stadium
March 24, 2006
Charlottesville, Va. –
#1 Virginia at #9 Johns Hopkins
March 25, 2006 1 pm
Klöckner Stadium Charlottesville, Va.
Radio: WINA AM 1070 in Charlottesville is providing live play-by-play coverage of this game. Mac McDonald calls all the action. He is joined in the broadcast booth by Doug Tarring, a member of UVa’s 1972 national championship team.
UVa, Hopkins to Honor Doyle Smith
The lacrosse programs at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia have joined together to honor Edward Doyle Smith Jr., for his lifetime of contributions to the lacrosse programs at both schools and on the national level. Beginning with this year’s game, the Doyle Smith Cup will be presented to the winner each season.
At halftime of today’s game, a commemorative plaque will be presented to each school. Former Johns Hopkins’ head coach Bob Scott and former UVa head coach Jim Adams will accept on behalf of the lacrosse programs. At the conclusion of the game, Bob Sandell, a 1951 graduate of Johns Hopkins, UVa lacrosse coach from 1955-58, longtime official and Hall of Fame member, will present the first Doyle Smith Cup to the winning coach.
Smith served as team manager and statistician for Johns Hopkins under Scott from 1963-1968. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1966 and earned a masters degree in 1968. He received the Barton Cup for academic excellence and the H Club Cup for contributions to athletics at Johns Hopkins.
He enrolled at UVa to pursue a doctorate in the fall of 1968, and became the university’s first full-time assistant sports information director, a position he held for 31 years until his retirement in 1999. He served as the lacrosse team’s publicist for four head coaches–Buddy Beardmore, Glenn Thiel, Jim Adams and Dom Starsia.
On the national level, Smith was one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the sport as his name is synonymous with the game’s history and record keeping. He served as the information director compiling the weekly rankings and statistics for the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) from 1973-95 and twice received its Man of the Year Award. The USILA media award bears his name.
In 2000 he was elected to the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame and is believed to be the only individual inducted who never played the game at some level. Smith passed away in June 2004.
The Series vs. the Blue Jays
Johns Hopkins holds a commanding 54-22-1 record in the all-time series with Virginia. The rivalry between the two schools goes all the way back to two meetings in 1904, well before lacrosse was recognized as a varsity sport at UVa. The series didn’t resume until 1926, the second “official” year of the UVa varsity program (but still 22 years before UVa joined the USILA). The teams have met at least once every season since 1948, the longest current series of any Virginia opponent.
John Hopkins’ 54 wins over Virginia are by far the most wins by any school over the Cavaliers. Maryland, next week’s opponent, is next with 43 wins over UVa.
Virginia has also played more games against Hopkins than any one else (77). Again, Maryland is second with 75 games vs. the Cavaliers.
The Blue Jays have had great success in Charlottesville, winning 17 of 28 match-ups on the Cavaliers’ home fields. However, Virginia has won seven of the last eight games in Charlottesville, including a dramatic 9-8 overtime two years ago.
This game features some historical patterns that could bode well for the Cavaliers.
Known as a team that likes the up-tempo pace, Virginia would certainly like to see its nation-leading offense explode vs. the Blue Jays since the Cavaliers are 17-7 all-time when scoring at least 10 goals. In fact, when UVa scores more than 13 goals they have won 11 of 14 games against Hopkins.The Cavaliers can also be successful if they are able to contain the Hopkins offense because they are 15-6-1 when allowing fewer than 10 goals. The Blue Jays have not reached double digits since an 11-goal game in the 1999 national semifinals, nine games ago.
History Suggests Rankings Don’t Mean Much
One of the characteristics of the Virginia vs. Johns Hopkins series since the late 1980s is the inability to use rankings as a predictor of victory, which the Cavaliers hope will be the case Saturday.
The higher ranked team has lost 13 of the last 20 regular season meetings dating back to 1987. In fact, from 1990-1995, the higher ranked squad lost each time.
Johns Hopkins was ranked number one for both meetings last year and came away victorious each time, but that has bucked the recent history of the series. The higher ranked team has lost four of the last five regular season match-ups. Undoubtedly, the Cavaliers would like to keep last year’s reversal alive for another season.
Over the last 10 years or so this rivalry has also been death to teams ranked #1. In 2002 the Blue Jays came to Charlottesville as the top-ranked team and suffered their first loss of the season 12-6. Similarly, the game at Homewood the following season saw the Blue Jays hand the #1 Cavaliers an 8-7 loss. The back-and-forth pattern continued two years ago in the most recent game at Klöckner Stadium as the Cavaliers (ranked 17th, the lowest for either team in the series) again handed the Blue Jays their first loss of the season by a 9-8 count in overtime.
Since 1991 a team ranked #1 has lost six of nine games in the series. Virginia won as #1 in 1996 and lost in 1991, `95 and `03. Johns Hopkins lost as #1 in 1992, 2002, and `03, but won twice last year.
Hoo’ll Lead the Offense Today?
The Cavaliers feature one of the most balanced offenses in the country with a host of players capable of putting up big numbers in any given game.
Ten different players have led the team in scoring and there doesn’t seem to be any pattern getting established as to who might lead on any particular occasion.
Ben Rubeor led the team in goals in the first two games, but missed the next two due to an injury. He returned four games ago and has been the leader once with three goals vs. Syracuse.
Ward led three times in a four-game span (Stony Brook, Syracuse, Princeton), but was held without a goal the last time out by Towson.
Poskay has scored three goals in four games and led in three of them (Drexel, Syracuse, Towson).
Thompson led the way in three straight games–VMI, Syracuse, Princeton–but has tallied only once since.
Virginia features eight players with at least six goals, including four already with at least 14.
Virginia Ranked First in USILA Poll
With an 8-0 start, as well as last week’s loss by Maryland to Bucknell, the Cavaliers have moved into the number one spot in the this week’s USILA coaches poll. This is the first time Virginia has been ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll since a three-week stay in March 2003.
Under head coach Dom Starsia, UVa is 14-5 when ranked #1 in the USILA coaches poll. The Cavaliers are 7-0 in home games as the top-ranked team. Based on available records going back to 1971, Virginia has never lost at home as the No. 1 team.
Poskay’s Streak Reaches Double Figures
Matt Poskay is the nation’s leading scorer among midfielders with 18 goals. With an average of 2.25 goals per game, he is tied for 18th in the country in goals average.
He has scored at least three goals on four occasions this season and led the team three times.
Poskay has also scored in all eight games this season to run his streak to 13 consecutive games with a goal. That is Virginia’s longest streak since Matt Ward had an 18-game run in 2004-05.
Poskay’s streak is the longest by a Cavalier midfielder since Jay Jalbert tallied at least once in 14 straight games in 2000.
Glazer is ACC Leader in Faceoffs and Ground Balls
One of the biggest question marks coming into the season for head coach Dom Starsia and his staff was who was going to replace four-year starter Jack deVilliers on faceoffs.
Given the most extended playing time of his career, Glazer has been one of the team’s most pleasant surprises with his excellent play. He is fourth in the country (ACC leader) in faceoff winning percentage with a 67.0 mark (73 of 109). He is also 17th nationally (once again the ACC leader) in ground balls, averaging 5.00 per game.
Glazer got the first starting assignment of his career in the opening game against Drexel and played a big role in the Cavaliers’ 15-7 win. He won 11 of 15 attempts (.733) and finished with four ground balls.
He had an even better performance in the win over Stony Brook, going up against Jim Astea, who was 12th last year in winning percentage. Glazer won 12 of 14 attempts (.857) as Virginia built a big lead and won 17-4. He also grabbed a career-high 10 ground balls to lead the team.
One of the keys in recent wins over Syracuse and Princeton was an ability to gain and maintain possession, particularly when it came to faceoffs.
In the win over the `Cuse, UVa outscored the Orange 8-1 in the second quarter to seize control. Glazer won 14 of 24 draws overall, including five of eight in that period, when the Cavaliers had possession virtually the entire period.
His ability to win draws was significant in the Cavaliers’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit to down Princeton 7-6. He won eight of 12 attempts, including all three in the third quarter when UVa mounted its comeback. Glazer also finished with a game-high seven ground balls.
Glazer was perfect in last week’s over Mount St. Mary’s, winning all 11 faceoffs he took, tying a school record for the best perfect game. Once again he was the ground ball leader with six.
Cavaliers are Nation’s Top Offense
Virginia comes into this game ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring with an average of 15.38 goals/g.
The Cavaliers have scored 123 goals in the eight games so far, their most after eight games since they scored 156 in 1997. Overall, it is the eighth-most they have ever scored at this point in a season.
The Cavaliers have scored at least 13 in seven of eight games, including at least 20 twice. The last time UVa scored 20+ more than twice in a season occurred in 1999 season when they reached that mark three times.
The offense features several of the top scorers in the country, led by senior All-American Matt Ward. Ward is third nationally with 28 points (15g, 13a), while sophomore Ben Rubeor is tied for fifth with 25 points (15g, 10a) despite missing two games with an injury.
Freshman Garrett Billings leads all freshmen in scoring with 19 points (14g, 5a) and is tied for the lead in goals by a rookie with Joe Mele of Bucknell. Danny Glading is hot on the heels of Billings, his roommate, and stands second among rookies with 17 total points.
Dixon is 40-40 Man
In baseball much is made of a player who combines the strength to hit home runs and the speed to steal bases, specifically hitting 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases in a season. In the entire history of baseball, there are only three members of the “40-40 Club” (Jose Canseco-1988, Barry Bonds-1996, Alex Rodriguez-1998).
In lacrosse a “40-40” midfielder is nearly as rare, as most middies are either scorers or passers, but rarely both.
Senior Kyle Dixon is one of the rare midfielders who can do both. Last year he was one of 10 ACC midfielders with 10 goals and 10 assists, and finished second among league mids with 17 assists.
This year his 10 assists are tied for the most in the country by a midfielder, while his 18 total points are tied for seventh.
He is one of only three midfielders with at least eight goals and eight assists this spring.
With 43 career goals and 46 career assists, he is one of only three “40-40 Midfielders” in school history. UVa’s list is below.
Player, years goals assists
1. Scott Gerham, 1981-84 45 57
2. Chris Rotelli, 2000-03 85 41
3. Kyle Dixon, 2003-pres. 43 46
Dom Starsia knew when he signed this year’s class of freshmen that he was getting some talented players. However he might not have anticipated getting quite the production he’s gotten so far from this precocious group of youngsters.
Glading has scored nine goals and added eight assists while starting every game. Kelly has started every game as well and usually draws the opponent’s third attackman; he has 11 ground balls.
Canadian attackman Garrett Billings has started several games and is the fourth attackman when he doesn’t start. His 19 total points are the most by a freshman, while his 14 goals are tied for the most.
Steve Giannone runs on the second midfield unit and has tallied six goals and added two assists. He was the team’s leading scorer against Mount St. Mary’s with three goals and an assist.
Gavin Gill has played in five games on attack. He has scored just once, but is tied for second on the team with 10 assists (which is tied with Chris Mulheron from Binghamton for the most in the country by a freshman).
In addition, the top longstick midfielder is redshirt freshman Mike Timms. He leads the team’s LSMs with 17 ground balls.
Overall, this year’s freshmen have scored 36 goals (29.3% of team total) and had 29 assists (33.3%) and are the most productive freshmen since the 2003 newcomers scored 46 goals and 37 assists.
Poskay Eyes Top 10 Midfield List
Matt Poskay set a national high school record with 362 goals during his storied prep career in New Jersey. Still there was some skepticism from some corners about his ability to be a big time scorer on the collegiate level. But Dom Starsia never had any reservations and his confidence in Poskay’s skills has been justified.
Poskay scored 29 goals last season, fourth in the nation among midfielders and tied for 10th all-time by a UVa middie.
This season he is the nation’s top midfielder scorer with 18 goals, which is tied for third overall.
Poskay also owns a 13-game streak with at least one goal dating back to last season, the longest streak on the team.
One of the most prolific scoring midfielders in school history, he needs one goal to become one of the top-10 scoring middies in program history. A look at the top scorers is below.
Player, years goals
1. Pete Eldredge, 1969-72 92
5. Andy Kraus, 1987-89, `91 75
6. Tom Holman, 1976-79 70
7. Rick Giusto, 1979-82 69
David Jones, 1992-95 69
9. Doug Cooper, 1971-74 66
Rich Kroll, 1974-77 66
11. Matt Poskay, 2003-pres. 65
Billings, Glading are Top Rookies
Danny Glading was named the top recruit in the nation by Inside Lacrosse in the fall, while classmate Garrett Billings was considered the magazine’s “Canadian X-Factor.”
Glading had a stellar high school career at Georgetown Prep and finished his career as the school’s all-time assists leader with 156. As a senior last year he scored 55 goals and finished with 93 points and was named the Washington Post’s Player of the Year.
Billings is a relative newcomer to the field game, but is a prolific scorer indoors, where he starred for the Burnaby Lakers club that won the Minto Cup in 2004 and `05. Last year he won the scoring title with 52 goals, 52 assists and 104 points and was named to the first all-star team.
The pair has given an already potent offense an added kick this season.
Billings is tied as the team’s third-leading scorer with 19 points (14g, 5a). He notched two goals and added an assist in his debut vs. Drexel and scored twice vs. Denver in his second game. He made his first start against Stony Brook in place of an injured Ben Rubeor and finished with three goals and an assist. He scored twice vs. Syracuse and has scored at least once in every game except Princeton.
The Canadian leads all freshmen in the nation in total points and is tied for the national rookie lead with 14 goals.
Glading is hot on the heels of Billings among the most productive freshmen so far. He has recorded 17 points (9g, 8a), just two points behind Billings as the second-leading freshman scorer. An excellent feeder, his eight assists are third-most by a freshman (behind the leader teammate Gavin Gill). Glading opened his career with a 2-goal, 2-assist performance against Drexel. Against Denver in his second game he led the team with four assists.
They join 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 Christmas, Conor Gill, Doug Knight, Drew McKnight, Rubeor, Matt Ward, Michael Watson, Tim Whiteley and Joe Yevoli.