Men's Lacrosse Plays Maryland for ACC championship Sunday in Baltimore
April 29, 2006
Charlottesville, Va. –
ACC Tournament Finals
#1 Virginia (12-0, No. 1 seed) vs. #3 Maryland (9-3, No. 2 seed)
April 30, 2006 3:30 pm
M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore, Md.
Television: The ACC Tournament championship game is being televised regionally by Comcast SportsNet, Fox Sports Net South, SunSports and New England Sports Network (NESN).
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.
Top-ranked Virginia faces the Maryland Terrapins in the championship game of the ACC Tournament Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
This is the first time in two years the Cavaliers have advanced to the league’s title game, however it must be noted they received a bye to the finals of the three-team tournament.
Virginia has won four tournament titles (1997-99-2000-03) since 1989, but none since 2003. In addition, UVa won 11 league titles (1962-64-69-70-71-75-80-83-84-85-86) when the champion was determined by regular season play.
The Cavaliers remain the only undefeated team in the country with a 12-0 record. They have posted the first undefeated regular season in school history, while the 12-game winning streak is their longest since a school-record 13-game run in 2000.
Virginia boasts the nation’s top-ranked offense, averaging 16.00 goals per game. Seven players have recorded at least 20 points, led by Ward with 42 (24g, 18a). This is the first time since 1997 UVa has had as many as seven 20-point scorers.
Maryland comes into the game on a three-game winning streak following Friday night’s semifinal win over North Carolina. The Terps are 9-3 overall and boast the nation’s third-ranked defense that allows an average of 5.82 goals per game.
In the season’s first meeting, the Cavaliers bolted to a quick 5-0 lead after seven-and-a-half minutes and gained a 15-5 win over the Terps.
With the nation’s most potent offense, Virginia would no doubt like to turn this game into a high-scoring affair. In the last 25 years Virginia has scored in double digits against Maryland 24 times and won 19. Conversely, in the 14 games when UVa has been held to fewer than 10 goals, the Cavaliers are 3-11.
Virginia as ACC Tournament’s Top Seed
This is the eighth time the Cavaliers have been the top seed for the ACC Tournament and the first time since 2002. However, being the tournament’s top seed hasn’t been very favorable for the Cavaliers. The first four times UVa was the top seed (1990-93-94-95), UVa failed to win the title.
Things changed a bit late in the 20th century as the Cavaliers won the championship in 1997 and 2000 as the top seed.
The last time (2002) the Cavaliers were the top seed they lost to Duke 14-13 in the finals.Being the top seed in the tournament has been a mixed bag for everybody. Only seven top seeds have won the ACC Tournament since 1989.
The Series vs. the Terrapins
Maryland leads the all-time series with Virginia by a 43-33 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).This is the fourth year in a row the teams have met twice.
Maryland has had the upper hand in the ACC Tournament, winning six of nine meetings, including two of three championship game matchups.
This is the second year in a row the teams have met in the ACC Tournament; last season Maryland got an 8-7 overtime win in the semifinals on the way to the league title.
Virginia jumped to a quick 5-0 lead in the first meeting this season and gained a 15-5 win in College Park. Ben Rubeor led the way with a game-high four goals.
Virginia has not won back-to-back games since winning five straight from 1999-2001.
Maryland’s 43 wins over Virginia are the second-most wins by any school over the Cavaliers. Johns Hopkins has defeated UVa 54 times.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s 33 wins in the series make the Terps fourth on UVa’s list of most beaten opponents (UVa has defeated Duke 48 times, North Carolina 43 times and Washington & Lee 42 times).
Glading Named ACC’s Top Rookie
Freshman attackman Danny Glading was considered the top recruit in the nation by Inside Lacrosse and he has lived up to his billing by being named the ACC’s Freshman of the Year.
He has started all 12 games on attack for the nation’s top-ranked offense and is one of only seven freshmen in the country with at least 10 goals and 10 assists. His 14 assists lead ACC freshmen and he is second among league rookies in total points (32) and goals (18).
Starsia Wins ACC Coaching Honor
Head coach Dom Starsia has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coach of the Year after guiding the Cavaliers to the first undefeated regular season (12-0) in school history. This is the seventh time Starsia has won the award, a league record.
He won his 150th game at UVa earlier this season and is tied for second in conference history with 153 wins. He is seventh in NCAA Division I history with 254 career wins.
Five Cavaliers Named All-ACC
Five Cavaliers–Michael Culver, Kyle Dixon, Ben Rubeor, Drew Thompson and Matt Ward–have been named to this season’s 11-man All-ACC squad. Culver and Ward are two of only four players to repeat from last season.
Ward becomes a three-time selection, only the 13th player in school history so honored. He is the team’s leading scorer for the third year in a row with 42 points (24g, 18) and leads the conference with 18 assists. He has been the team’s leading scorer in four games this season.
Culver is the top defenseman in the conference and earning all-conference honors for the second year in a row. Typically assigned to the opposition’s top attackman, he has held some of the most dangerous scorers in the country in check while anchoring the ACC’s second-ranked defense. His 30 ground balls are third among ACC defensemen this year.
Dixon is having a phenomenal season and is considered by some as the best midfielder in the country. His 15 assists are second on team and lead ACC middies. A rare scorer and set up man, he is one of only three midfielders in Virginia history with at least 40 career goals and at least 40 career assists.
Rubeor is perhaps the most dangerous attackman on the nation’s top-ranked offense. He is second in the ACC in scoring with an average of 3.80 points per game and goals (2.40 gpg). Rubeor is second on the team in goals with 24 despite missing two games due to injury and has been the team’s leading scorer on six occasions.
Thompson is one of the top all-around midfielders in the country–he plays offense, defense and takes faceoffs. He ranks second among ACC midfielders with 26 points and 12 assists. Thompson ranks third in the ACC in faceoff percentage, winning 58 percent of his attempts, and is fourth in ground balls with an average of 3.83 per game.
Rankings Don’t Mean Much vs. Terps
Virginia and Maryland have met 36 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 16 times, although things have turned around quite a bit in the last few years with the higher ranked team winning 12 of the last 16 match-ups.
The higher ranked team has won five of the last six meetings.
Virginia is 3-1 vs. Maryland when ranked No. 1, including a win in the championship game of the 2000 ACC Tournament.
Defense Among Nation’s Best
The Virginia offense has been electric this season and leads the nation with an average of 16.0 goals per game. The defense is determined not to be outdone and has been especially stingy this spring. The Cavalier defenders–led by close d-men Michael Culver, Ricky Smith and Matt Kelly and LSMs Mike Timms and Chris Ourisman, as well as stopper Kip Turner-spearhead the nation’s ninth-ranked defense. The Cavaliers relinquish an average of 7.42 goals per game. Only Syracuse (15), North Carolina (13) and Bellarmine (10) have scored more than seven goals vs. Virginia this season.
VMI and Maryland have scored their fewest goals of the season vs. Virginia, while Denver, Stony Brook, Towson and Johns Hopkins all have their second-lowest output of the season against the Cavaliers. Of the 12 opponents this season, only Syracuse, North Carolina and Bellarmine have scored more than their season average.
Cavaliers are Nation’s Top Offense
Virginia comes into this game ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring with an average of 16.0 goals/g.
The Cavaliers have scored 192 goals in 12 games, their most at this stage since they scored a whopping 222 goals in 1997. Overall, it is the fifth-most they have ever scored at this point in a season.
The Cavaliers have scored at least 12 goals in 11 of 12 games, including at least 20 four times. The last time UVa scored 20+ at least three times occurred in 1997 season when they did it five times.
The offense features several of the top scorers in the country, led by senior All-American Matt Ward. Ward is tied for 12th nationally in scoring with an average of 3.50 ppg, while sophomore Ben Rubeor is eighth with an average of 3.80 ppg.
Billings has scored 24 goals and ranks tied for fourth behind Siena’s Matt Girsh (30), Hofstra’s Tom Dooley (29) and Bucknell’s Joe Mele (26). Glading is tied for 12th with 18 goals.
Glading is tied for third among rookies with 14 assists, while Gavin Gill is tied for ninth with 10.
Billings and Glading are two of only seven rookies in the nation with both 10 goals and 10 assists.
Hoo’ll Lead the Offense Today?
Virginia features one of the most balanced offenses in the country with a host of players capable of putting up big numbers in any given game.
Eleven different players have led the team in goals and there doesn’t seem to be any pattern 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. Since his return he has been the leader three more times (Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Maryland).
Ward led three times in a four-game span (Stony Brook, Syracuse, Princeton), but was held without a goal by Towson and hasn’t led since the Princeton game.
Poskay scored three goals each four times in an eight-game stretch, leading in three of them (Drexel, Syracuse, Towson).
Thompson led the way in three straight games–VMI, Syracuse, Princeton–but has tallied only four times since.
Freshman middie Steve Giannone led in two midweek games–VMI, Mount St. Mary’s. Rookie attackman Garrett Billings was the goal-scoring leader against Towson with a season-high three goals. Billings also led the last time out with a career-high five scores vs. North Carolina.
Freshman attackman Danny Glading shared the scoring honors with Rubeor against Johns Hopkins, the first time he was high man.
Virginia Ranked First in USILA Poll
Virginia sits atop the USILA coaches poll for the sixth consecutive week this week. The Cavaliers have a 12-0 record, the best in school history. This is the longest UVa has been ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll since a six-week stay in 1980.
Under head coach Dom Starsia, UVa is 18-5 when ranked #1 in the coaches poll. The Cavaliers are 3-1 in the ACC Tournament as the top-ranked team.
Morrissey Unheralded Standout
Last season Inside Lacrosse magazine called short-stick defensive midfielder the “most important position in lacrosse” in a story about the seldom-noticed contributions of those playing the position.
Virginia’s J.J. Morrissey certainly falls into this category. Last season he could have easily been named the team’s most valuable player (it went to Matt Ward). He scooped a career-high 51 ground balls to rank sixth in the ACC (3.40/g), scored six goals and assisted on seven more.
This season he has been named a team captain in recognition of his leadership skills. Once again he is a demon on ground balls, ranking third in the ACC with an average of 3.92 per game. Deadly in transition, he has scored four goals and has six assists.
Morrissey has led the team in ground balls three times this season and tied his career high with eight GBs vs. Syracuse.
Rubeor on Recent Tear
Ben Rubeor was one of the top freshmen in the nation a year ago and made an immediate impact in the line-up. He led ACC freshmen with 16 assists and was second with 18 goals and 34 points.
In the season’s first game against Drexel he led the way with three goals and two assists and was high man the next game with four goals and two assists vs. Denver. He injured his ankle late in that contest and missed the next two games (Stony Brook, VMI).
The rugged sophomore returned to action against Syracuse as if he had not missed any time. Once again he led the attack with three goals and two assists in a 20-15 win.
Rubeor scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in a 7-6 win over Princeton, interestingly enough on his 20th birthday. He followed that with a relatively quiet game against Mount St. Mary’s with two goals and an assist.
Playing just minutes from his home, Rubeor led the way with five points (2g, 3a) in the 14-7 win over Towson several weeks ago.
He scored a game-high four goals in the 15-5 win over Maryland and was named ACC Player of the Week.
Against North Carolina he assisted on three goals despite being a little under the weather, while he netted three goals and had an assist against Bellarmine last weekend.
The second-leading scorer on the team, he is averaging 3.80 points per game and ranked eighth in the country.
Poskay’s Streak Reaches 17 Games
Matt Poskay is the nation’s second-leading scorer among midfielders with 27 goals. Hartford’s Josh Wasson-McQuigge leads the way with 30 goals.
Poskay has scored at least three goals on six occasions this season and led the team four times.
He has also scored in every game this season to run his streak to 17 consecutive games with a goal. That is Virginia’s longest streak since Matt Ward had an 18-game run in 2004-05. Overall, Poskay has scored at least once in 27 of the last 28 games (Duke 2005 was his only shutout).
His streak is the longest by a UVa midfielder since David Curry scored in 22 straight games in 1996-97.
Glazer is ACC Faceoff Leader
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 in the faceoff circle.
Senior Charlie Glazer and junior Drew Thompson have been the team’s top-two draw men, but with Thompson on the field for both offense and defense, Glazer has had plenty of chances to ply his specialty.
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 sixth in the country (ACC leader) in faceoff winning percentage with a 63.0 mark (102 of 162). He also leads the ACC in ground balls, averaging 4.75 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 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 had a perfect game vs. Mount St. Mary’s (11 of 11) and was excellent going up against Greg Peyser from Johns Hopkins, winning 10 of 17 draws.
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 15 assists are tied for third in the country by a midfielder, while his 26 total points are tied for 20th.
He is one of only 18 midfielders with at least 10 goals and 10 assists this spring.
With 46 career goals and 51 career assists, he is one of only three “40-40 Midfielders” in school history. That 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. 46 51
Ward Moves Up ACC Goals List
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 50 of 57 games in his career.
He scored a trio of goals in the win over Denver on Feb. 20 to become only the ninth player in school history to score at least 100 in a career; he is fourth with 121. Ward is also tied for fifth among active Division I players.
His place on the ACC’s career goals list is shown below.
Player, school, years goals
11. Josh Dennis, Duke, 1987-90 129
12. Bert Fett, North Carolina, 1972-75 128
13. Frank Urso, Maryland, 1973-76 127
14. Pete Worstell, Maryland, 1978-81 126
15. T.J. Durnan, Duke, 1997-2000 125
16. Matt Ward, Virginia, 2003-06 121
Scott Hochstadt, Maryland, 1996-99 121
Ground Balls Key to Victory
One of the goals of the Virginia coaching staff every game is winning the ground ball battle.
Last season the Cavaliers were exceptional and averaged 44.8 ground balls per game, up seven from the year before, and almost six more than the opposition. They also won the ground ball war in 11 of 15 games.
This year’s group of Cavaliers have done their best Brooks Robinson impersonation, sucking up ground balls at a rate of 51.1 per game. Against Mount St. Mary’s, they gobbled up 67 and have topped 50 five other times. They also have a ground ball margin of 15.9 gb/g.
The Cavaliers have won 55 of their last 60 games (6-0 this year) dating back to 1998 when snapping up at least 50 GBs.
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 third on the team in scoring with 35 points (24g, 11a). He has led the team in total points in the last two games. He erupted for a career-high five goals and two assists in the recent win over North Carolina and followed that with two goals and a career-high four assists in the win over Bellarmine.
The Canadian is tied for third in the nation in total points by a freshman and is the fourth-leading rookie goal scorer with 24.
Glading has scored at least twice in the last five games. An excellent feeder, his 14 assists are tied for third most by a freshman. He opened his career with a 2-goal, 2-assist performance against Drexel. He shared the team lead with two goals vs. Johns Hopkins.
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.
Starsia Wins 150th at Virginia
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 won his 150th game at UVa with last month’s 12-6 win over Johns Hopkins. He now has a 153-54 (.739) record at UVa.
In addition to setting the school record for most wins, Starsia is tied for seventh 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 153 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 Wins
1. Jack Emmer, Cortland, W&L, Army, 1970-2005 326
2. Dick Garber, UMass, 1955-90 300
3. Roy Simmons, Jr., Syracuse, 1971-98 290
4. Jim Adams, Army, Penn, UVa, 1958-92 284
5. Glenn Thiel, UVa, Penn State, 1970-pres. 276
6. Richie Moran, Cornell, 1969-97 257
7. Dom Starsia, Brown, UVa, 1983-pres. 254
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 18 goals and added 14 assists while starting every game. His 32 total points are seventh in the country among freshmen, while his 14 assists are tied for third.
Kelly has started every game as well and usually draws the opponent’s third attackman; he has 22 ground balls.
Canadian attackman Garrett Billings has started several games and is the fourth attackman when he doesn’t start. His 35 total points are tied for third most by a freshman, while his 24 goals are tied for fourth.
Steve Giannone runs on the second midfield unit and has tallied seven goals and added four assists. He was the team’s leading scorer against Mount St. Mary’s with three goals and an assist.
Gavin Gill has played in nine games as a reserve on attack. He has scored just twice, but is ninth in the country among freshmen with 10 assists.
In addition, the top longstick midfielder is redshirt freshman Mike Timms. He second among the team’s LSMs with 20 ground balls.
Overall, this year’s freshmen have scored 57 goals (29.7% of team total) and had 43 assists (32.1%) and are the most productive freshmen since the 2002 newcomers scored 84 goals and 26 assists.
Poskay Eyes Top Five 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 second-leading midfielder scorer with 27 goals, which is tied for 11th overall.
Poskay also owns a 17-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 is sixth on UVa’s goals list by a middie. A look at the list is below.
Player, years goals
1. Pete Eldredge, 1969-72 92
2. Chris Rotelli, 2000-03 85
3. Greg Traynor, 1992-95 82
4. Jay Jalbert, 1997-2000 78
5. Andy Kraus, 1987-89, '91 75
6. Matt Poskay, 2003-pres. 74
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.
This season they are even better. They have combined to score 52 goals (27.1% of team total) and add 31 assists (23.1%) this season.
Poskay is second among the nation’s middies with a team-leading 27 goals, while Dixon is tied for third in assists by a midfielder with 15.