Men's Lacrosse Clashes with Syracuse in NCAA Championships Final Four Saturday in Philly
May 26, 2006
Philadelphia, Pa. –
#1 Virginia (1st seed) vs. #7 Syracuse (5th seed)
May 27, 2006 2 pm
Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pa.
The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
The Series vs. Syracuse:
Current Streak: W2
Biggest UVa Win: 8, 1995 (15-7)
Biggest SU Win: 9, 1938 (13-4)
Starsia vs. SU: 7-10
UVa in the NCAA Championships:
Years as #1 Seed: 1980, 2006
Overall Record: 35-25
Semifinals Record: 7-10 (.412)
Television: The semifinals are being televised by ESPN2. Dave Ryan calls the play-by-play, while Quint Kessenich provides the color commentary. Rob Simmelkjaer is the sideline reporter. ESPN is televising Monday’s final.
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 returns to the national semifinals for the second year in a row and faces the tournament’s fifth seed Syracuse in the second semifinal game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Saturday at 2 pm.
The teams have played each other in the regular season every year since 1995, but the current rivalry began the year before with UVa’s dramatic 15-14 overtime win in the national semifinals. The Cavaliers rallied from a five-goal deficit in the fourth quarter in a three-minute and 14 second span to force overtime. The most dramatic goal was Tim Whiteley’s goal while two-men down. Freshman Michael Watson scored the winner for UVa at the 2:10 mark of overtime.
This is the seventh time the teams have clashed in the national playoffs and the first time since meeting in the semifinals in 2002. Both squads have three wins.
The Cavaliers won a high-scoring contest 20-15 earlier this season. They used a 9-1 run to turn an early three-goal deficit into a lead and gain their first home win in 10 years. The win is Virginia’s second in a row over Syracuse, the first back-to-back wins over the Orange in more than a decade.
Virginia is the tournament’s top seed for the first time since 1980 and has won a school-record 15 games in a row. UVa remains the only undefeated team in the country and posted the first undefeated regular season in school history.
The Orange is undoubtedly one of the hottest teams in the country. They are 10-4 and have won nine games in a row. This is the fifth opponent in a row Virginia has faced with at least a three-game winning streak.
Virginia has won three NCAA Championships (1972, 1999, 2003) and was the USILA national champions in 1952 and 1970 (pre-NCAA Championships).
The Series vs. Syracuse
Virginia and Syracuse have staged some of the most thrilling battles in college athletics throughout the last decade, but the rivalry stretches back more than half a century. Syracuse won the first meeting 13-4 in 1938 and has won 11 of the 20 meetings all-time.The two schools battled only three times between 1938-93, but have met at least once each season since 1994.
The titans began a regular season series in 1995 and have played every year since in what is one of the most anticipated games of the season by lacrosse fans everywhere.This is the seventh time these squads have faced off in the NCAA Championships; both teams have won three times.
Virginia has won the last two meetings and attempts to win three games in a row for the first time in more than a decade. The Cavaliers posted four straight wins but they were spread out over 45 years (1950-1995).
Both teams are known for their high-scoring offenses, but it is interesting to note that since 1999 Syracuse has scored at least 15 goals only four times (2002-03-04-06) and Virginia twice (2003-06).
Scoring Falls in Rematches
This is the fifth time since the teams began a regular season series in 1995 that they have played in the NCAA Championships.
In every instance but one (1995), the match-up in the playoffs has featured fewer combined goals than the regular season game.
In 1995, the teams combined to score 22 goals in the regular season, but that total increased to 33 goals in the playoffs, but the scoring has gone down in the last three rematches.
The teams scored 35 goals in the 1998 regular season before dropping to 31 in the NCAA tourney.
During UVa’s national championship year in 1999, the two squads scored 26 goals in the regular season and fell to 22 in the national championship contest.
They scored 28 goals between them in 2002 and decreased to 23 in the playoffs in the most recent rematch.
The teams combined for 35 goals during this year’s regular season meeting, the most goals scored in the series since they also scored 35 in 1998.
Tight Games Characterize Series
One of the reasons this matchup is so widely anticipated is the potential for a high-scoring game that is likely to go down to the wire. Witness Virginia’s 20-15 win earlier this season.
Since 1996 a three-goal win can be considered a “blow out.” Nine of the 13 games since then have been decided by just one or two goals. Syracuse has won by six on two occasions (2001, 2004), by far the biggest win by either team in this span. Virginia’s biggest win in the last nine years is its five-goal win back in March.
UVa’s three wins between 1996-2005 were by a total of five goals (1.67/g), while the win earlier this season is the biggest since a 15-7 win 11 years ago. Syracuse’s nine wins have been by a total of 23 goals (2.56/g).
In the history of the series, the biggest win by either team is a 13-4 Syracuse win in 1938 in the first meeting between the two squads. Virginia’s biggest win is a 15-7 victory in the Carrier Dome in 1995.
Of the 19 games, 11 have been decided by one or two goals.
Sixth Semifinal Appearance in Last Eight Years
Virginia has advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row and the fourth time in the last five seasons and the ninth time overall under head coach Dom Starsia.
Overall this is the Cavaliers’ 18th trip to the semifinals, fourth in tournament history. Johns Hopkins leads the way with 26 appearances, followed by Syracuse with 24 and Maryland with 20.
The Cavaliers haven’t won a semifinal game outside the state of Maryland since 1986 when they defeated Syracuse 12-10 in Newark, Del.
Virginia won semifinal games in Maryland (College Park and Baltimore) in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2003. The Cavaliers have also lost some semifinals in Maryland in the last 20 years. In 1988 they lost in the semis in Syracuse, in 2002 at Rutgers and last year in Philadelphia.
Cavaliers and Orange Meet in Postseason Again
This is the seventh time Virginia and Syracuse have met in the NCAA Championships and the first meeting since the 2002 semifinals.
Three of Virginia’s nine wins over the Orange all time have occurred in the NCAA tournament, including a 12-10 win in the title game of the 1999 championship.Virginia won the first two postseason clashes–12-10 in the 1986 semifinals and 15-14 in overtime in the 1994 semis.
Syracuse won the next two–20-13 in the 1995 semifinals and 17-14 in the 1998 quarterfinals, before Virginia won the `99 meeting. The Orange gained a 12-11 overtime win in the 2002 semis.
Virginia is 2-2 in semifinal meetings, 1-0 in the finals and 0-1 in the quarterfinals against Syracuse.
Seniors Receive Degrees in Special Ceremony
Lacrosse players come to Virginia with two primary goals in mind–to graduate from UVa and win national championships. In last week’s quarterfinal match-up vs. Georgetown the goals were in conflict. The university conferred 3423 baccalaureate degrees, but nine members of the class of 2006 were unable to attend because they were representing the school in the NCAA Championships.
Instead, in what has become a team tradition recently, they had their own graduation ceremony Monday afternoon.
Nine seniors–G Doug Brody, D Patrick Buchanan, D Michael Culver, M Kyle Dixon, FOM Charlie Glazer, M J.J. Morrissey, LSM Chris Ourisman, D Matt Paquet, M Matt Poskay and A Matt Ward all received their degrees. M Kyle Dixon is expected to receive his degree during the summer. M Jared Little received his degree last year and is going to receive his master’s degree this summer.
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 58 points (33g, 25a) and leads the conference with 25 assists. He has been the team’s leading scorer in six games this season.
Culver is the top defenseman in the conference and earned all-conference honors for the second year in a row. He shut down Maryland’s Joe Walters, the ACC Player of the Year, in the league championship game, ending his streak of 45 games with a point. For his efforts Culver became the first defenseman to win the tournament MVP award since 1980. His 38 ground balls are fourth among ACC defensemen this year.
Dixon is having a phenomenal season and is considered by some as the best midfielder in the country. His 19 assists are third on team and are the most by an ACC middie. A rare scorer and set up man, he is one of only four midfielders in ACC history with at least 50 career goals and at least 50 career assists.
Rubeor is perhaps the most dangerous attackman on the nation’s top-ranked offense. He leads the ACC in scoring with an average of 3.92 points per game and goals (2.38 gpg). Rubeor is third on the team with 31 goals despite missing two games due to injury and has been the team’s leading scorer on eight occasions.
Thompson is one of the top all-around midfielders in the country–he plays offense, defense and takes faceoffs. He ranks third among ACC midfielders with 34 points and is second behind Dixon with 18 assists. He is also third in the ACC in faceoff percentage, winning 57 percent of his attempts, and is fourth in ground balls with an average of 3.80 per game.
Virginia Ranked First in USILA Poll
The Cavaliers are ranked first in the final USILA coaches poll, the seventh consecutive week they have been the top team. They have a 15-0 record, the best in school history. Based on available records, this is the longest UVa has been ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll since at least 1971. This is also the first time Virginia has been ranked No. 1 in the final poll since 1980.
Under head coach Dom Starsia, UVa is 21-5 when ranked #1 in the coaches poll. The Cavaliers are 4-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament as the top-ranked team.
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 15 games on attack for the nation’s top-ranked offense and is one of only four freshmen in the country with at least 15 goals and 15 assists. His 18 assists lead ACC freshmen and are second nationally. He also leads conference rookies in total points (41) and is second in goals (23).
Glading’s number this season rank highly on UVa’s all-time freshman lists. His 41 points are ninth all-time by a UVa rookie, while his 23 goals are eighth and his 18 assists 12th.
Defense Among Nation’s Best
The Virginia offense has been electric this season and leads the nation with an average of 15.80 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 7.47 goals per game, the second year in a row they have been below seven-and-a-half goals per game.
Only five opponents, including Syracuse (15), 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.
Quick Starts Set Tone
One amazing aspect of the Cavaliers’ 15-0 record this season has been the explosive play of their offense. They lead the nation in scoring with an average of 15.80 goals per game, more than three goals more than the next team (Hofstra, 12.58 gpg). Virginia also leads the nation in scoring margin, winning by an average of 8.33 goals per game.
Like the man who jumps out of bed and hits the ground running every morning, Virginia has been particularly effective in getting off to fast starts. In fact in nearly half the Cavaliers’ games, remarkably quick starts have effectively decided the game in the first half.
Virginia has scored a whopping 69 goals in the first quarter this year, an average of 4.60 per game. (Conversely, the Cavaliers have only relinquished 28 first quarter goals.) Virginia has outscored the opposition 12 times in the first quarter this season, including the last nine games.
The 69 goals are the most in the first quarter of any team in the country this year (Hofstra is next with 51 first quarter goals). Virginia’s first quarter total is also the second-most goals in a quarter overall behind Hofstra’s 72 second quarter goals.
The Cavaliers have scored more goals in the first quarter this season than they have in the last two seasons combined (60).
Frequently, the lead has been extended in the second quarter as Virginia has outscored the opposition 62-21 in the second. The Cavaliers’ scoring drops to 59 goals in the third quarter, but that’s still more than double their opponents.
The fourth quarter is the only time the scoring has been close; Virginia owns a 47-36 advantage.
The chart below shows the scoring totals by quarter this season, as well as the national rank for that quarter.
Quarter UVa NCAA rank
First 69 1
Second 62 2
Third 59 2
Fourth 47 4
Getting the Lead, Holding the Lead
One of the Cavaliers’ most notable characteristics this season has been an ability to score early, get the lead and retain the lead.
Virginia has scored first 12 times this season, including each of the last eight games. (In fact, the only times UVa didn’t score first came in consecutive games against Syracuse, Princeton and Mount St. Mary’s.)
The Cavaliers scored in the opening minute three times in a row recently (Maryland, North Carolina, Bellarmine) to get off to fast starts.
After relinquishing the first goal to Mount St. Mary’s on March 14 and falling behind 1-0 the Cavaliers have not trailed at all (a span of nearly nine games). Virginia tied the score a short time later to limit The Mount’s lead time to a mere 51 seconds.
Overall, the Cavaliers have led in 511:06 of the last 536:04 (95.2%). The rest of the time the score has been tied.
The chart below shows a game-by-game breakdown of Virginia’s lead time this season.
UVa Tied Opp. for last ...
Drexel 42:04 15:12 2:44 26:33
Denver 42:34 17:26 0 41:14
S. Brook 58:38 1:22 0 58:38
VMI 58:08 1:52 0 58:08
Syra. 41:38 8:04 10:18 40:00
Prince. 13:12 13:11 33:37 7:31
MSM 56:04 3:05 0:51 56:04
Towson 58:05 1:55 0 58:05
JHU 48:46 11:14 0 45:20
Md. 59:45 0:15 0 59:45
UNC 59:27 0:33 0 59:27
Bell. 59:12 0:48 0 59:12
Md. (ACC) 57:26 2:34 0 57:26
N. Dame (NCAA) 55:20 4:40 0 32:40
Gtown (NCAA) 57:01 2:59 0 57:01
Total 767:20 85:10 47:30
Poskay’s Streak Reaches 20 Games
Matt Poskay is the nation’s leading scorer among midfielders with 34 goals, one more than Michael Farley of Providence and Hartford’s Josh Wasson-McQuigge.
Poskay has scored at least three goals on seven occasions this season and led the team five times.
He has also scored in every game this season to run his streak to 20 consecutive games with a goal, the longest by a UVa midfielder since David Curry scored in 22 straight games in 1996-97.
Overall, Poskay has scored at least once in 30 of the last 31 games (Duke 2005 was his only shutout).
Shooters Have Been Hot All Season
With four games in February and five in March during the coldest parts of the year (and only four games in the last five weeks during spring), perhaps it’s remarkable to learn that Virginia has been hot all year.
The Cavaliers lead the nation in scoring with an average of 15.8 goals per game. But they are also an extremely accurate shooting squad, connecting on 32.64 percent of their shots to rank second in the nation in shooting percentage. (Albany leads at 34.11 percent.) Virginia’s shooting percentage this season is its best since the 1999 team won the national title while shooting 34.6 percent.
The hot shooting is all the more remarkable considering they also lead the nation in shots per game (48.40), more than eight shots per game more than the next closest team (Georgetown 40.07). The shots per game average is the program’s highest since topping 50 shots per game each year from 1993-1997.
As mentioned elsewhere in this notes packet, the Cavaliers have only trailed for 51 seconds in the last nine games. During this span they are shooting 36.6 percent (144 of 393) and have shot at least 30 percent eight times.
Since 1998 Virginia is 63-4 (.940) when shooting 30+ percent.
Culver Shuts Down His Man
Being a team’s top defenseman requires an ability to shut down the opposition’s top attackman. Senior defenseman Michael Culver has clearly demonstrated he’s been among the nation’s leading d-men the last two seasons.
He earned All-ACC honors for the second year in a row this season and has helped limit the opponents to fewer than eight goals per game.
As the top defenseman he is matched against with one of the nation’s leading attackmen each game.
His remarkable ability to shut down his man is best shown by his play in two games against Maryland’s Joe Walters this year, one of the nation’s leading scorers.
In the regular-season match-up, Culver held Waters to a lone assist and 0-for-8 shooting in a 15-5 UVa win.
Walters, his school’s all-time leading scorer, was ineffective in the championship game of the ACC Tournament in UVa’s last game. Walters was held scoreless (no goals, no assists) for the first time in 45 games and only the second time in his career. He also misfired on all 10 shots. For his efforts, Culver was named the tournament MVP, the first defenseman to win the honor since 1990 (Joe Breschi, North Carolina).
Make `Em Pay for Their Mistakes
With the nation’s top offense, Virginia has clearly shown it can score goals with the best of them. The opposition frequently makes it easier for the Cavaliers by frequently giving them extra-man opportunities. Virginia is getting more than four man-up chances per game (62 in 15 games).
The Cavaliers continually cash in, scoring on 51.6 percent of their EMO chances to rank third nationally. This would be a school record if it holds.
They have scored 32 EMO goals, the most in the nation. This is UVa’s most extra-man goals since scoring 32 in both 1994 and 1995.
Senior midfielder Matt Poskay has scored 12 of his 34 goals on extra man and leads the nation.
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 tallied 23 goals and 18 assists while starting every game. His 41 total points are tied for third in the country among freshmen, while his 18 assists are second.
The physical Kelly has started every game as well and usually draws the opponent’s third attackman; he has 29 ground balls.
Canadian attackman Garrett Billings has started several games and is the fourth attackman when he doesn’t start. His 39 total points are fifth most by a freshman, while his 27 goals are third.
Steve Giannone runs on the second midfield unit and has tallied nine goals and added five assists. He was the team’s leading scorer against Mount St. Mary’s with three goals and an assist.
Gavin Gill has played in 10 games as a reserve on attack. He has scored just twice, but is 13th in the country among freshmen with 10 assists.
In addition, the top longstick midfielder is redshirt freshman Mike Timms, who has scooped up 27 ground balls and leads the team in caused turnovers.
Overall, this year’s freshmen have scored 67 goals (28.3% of team total) and had 49 assists (29.7%) and are the most productive freshmen since the 2002 newcomers scored 84 goals and 26 assists.
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 nation-leading rate of 48.9 per game. Against Mount St. Mary’s, they gobbled up 67 and have had at least 50 six other times. They also have a ground ball margin of 12.9 gb/g, also the nation’s best figure
The Cavaliers have won 56 of their last 61 games (7-0 this year) dating back to 1998 when snapping up at least 50 GBs.
Virginia Has Nation’s Top Offense
Virginia comes into this game ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring with an average of 15.80 goals/g.
The Cavaliers have scored 237 goals in 14 games, fifth most in a season in school history.
The Cavaliers have scored at least 12 goals in 13 of 15 games, including at least 20 five times. The last time they had as many 20-goal games occurred in 1997 when they also did it five times.
The offense features several of the top scorers in the country, led by senior All-American Matt Ward and sophomore Ben Rubeor. Rubeor is sixth nationally in scoring with an average of 3.92 ppg, while Ward is not far behind in seventh place at 3.87 ppg.
Ward’s 58 total points are a team high, while Rubeor is next with 51 (despite playing two fewer games).
Virginia features five 20-goal scorers for the first time since the 2003 championship year when six Cavaliers notched at least 20 goals.
Seven different Cavaliers also have at least 10 assists for the first time in school history. In addition, seven players have recorded at least 30 points for the first time in program history.
School-Record Winning Streak
The Cavaliers have won a school-record 15 games in a row, breaking the record previously set in 2000.
Virginia’s winning streak is the fourth-longest in ACC history, but well short of Maryland’s 31-game run from 1954-57.
It also appears to be tied for the 10th-longest streak in NCAA Division I history. It should be noted, however, that the NCAA records only begin in 1971.
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 a 12-6 win over Johns Hopkins earlier this season. He now has a 156-54 (.743) record at UVa.
In addition to setting the school record for most wins, Starsia is tied with Cornell’s legendary former coach Richie Moran for sixth 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.)
Starsia is also one of three coaches to win 100+ games at two different schools. In addition to his 156 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. Dom Starsia, Brown, UVa, 1983-pres. 257
Richie Moran, Cornell, 1969-97 257
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 fifth in the ACC with an average of 3.73 per game while snaring a career high of 56 GBs. Deadly in transition, he has scored five goals and has six assists.
This is the third year in a row he has snared at least 50 ground balls, only the sixth midfielder in school history to do so.
Morrissey has led the team in ground balls three times this season and tied his career high with eight GBs vs. Syracuse.
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.
Thirteen 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 five times in the nine games. Overall he has been the leader a team-high eight times, including three of the last four.
Matt Ward led three times in a four-game span (Stony Brook, Syracuse, Princeton), but was held without a goal by Towson and wasn’t the leader again until the Bellarmine game. He was the high man three times (Bellarmine, Maryland, Notre Dame) recently. Overall, he has been the leader six times, including a season-high four goals against Notre Dame despite a broken hand.
Midfielder Matt Poskay has led on five occasions. He scored three goals each four times in an eight-game stretch, leading in three of them (Drexel, Syracuse, Towson).
Middie Drew Thompson led the way in three straight games–VMI, Syracuse, Princeton–but has not been the leader since.
Freshman middie Steve Giannone led in two midweek games–VMI, Mount St. Mary’s. Classmate Danny Glading was a consistent scorer early on but was not the leader until the ninth game against Johns Hopkins. Since then he has also shared the leadership honors the last two games.
Fellow rookie Garrett Billings (Glading’s roommate) was the goal-scoring leader against Towson with three goals. He blew up with a career-high five scores vs. North Carolina, the most by a Cavalier this year.
All-American midfielder Kyle Dixon had not been the leader until the ACC Tournament finals vs. Maryland when he was among five Cavaliers to lead the way with two scores.
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 (15-0) in school history and their fifth ACC Tournament title. This is the seventh time Starsia has won the award, a league record.
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 53 of 60 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 currently fourth with 130. Ward is also fifth among active Division I players.
His place on the ACC’s career goals list is shown below.
Player, school, years goals
9. Kevin Pehlke, UVa, 1990-93 138
10. Rob Wurzburger, Maryland, 1988-91 137
11. Matt Ward, Virginia, 2003-06 130
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 eighth in the country (ACC leader) in faceoff winning percentage with a 59.9 mark (118 of 197). He is also second in the ACC in ground balls, averaging 4.20 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.
Rubeor is Dangerous Jewel
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.
Despite being overshadowed by senior All-American Matt Ward, Rubeor might actually be the team’s most dangerous attackman. He was the only sophomore named to this season’s All-ACC squad.
He erupted for a career-high five goals last week vs. Georgetown and is second on the team with 31 goals. He also is second with 51 points despite missing two games. He has also sat out large portions of several blow outs.
Rubeor has led the team in goals a team-high eight times this season, including five of the last seven.
He has been the assists leader on three occasions, including three against North Carolina when it seemed unlikely he would play due to illness.
In the big games he’s been even better. He has scored 23 goals (2.56/g) and added 13 assists (1.44/g) in nine games against ranked teams. His goal-scoring average against ranked teams is better than his rate against unranked teams (2.00/g).
After getting injured against Denver in the second game and sitting out the next two, he 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.
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.
He is averaging 3.92 points per game to rank sixth nationally, while his 2.38 goals per game average is eighth.
Rubeor has also scored four man-down goals, more than every team in the country (besides his own).
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 67 goals (28.3% of team total) and add 42 assists (25.5%) this season.
Poskay leads the nation’s middies with a team-leading 34 goals, while Dixon is third and Thompson fifth in assists by a midfielder with 19 and 18, respectively.
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 does 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 19 assists are tied for third in the country by a midfielder, while his 36 total points are tied for 11th. He is one of only seven midfielders (along with teammate Drew Thompson with at least 15 goals and 15 assists this spring.
With 52 career goals and 55 career assists, he is one of only three “40-40 Midfielders” in school history. Additionally, he is only one of seven midfielders to score 100 points at Virginia.
Perhaps even more impressive is that he is only the fourth “50-50” middie in ACC history.
The list of the ACC’s “50-50” mids is below.
ACC 50-50 Midfielders
Player, school, years goals assists
1. Frank Urso, Md., 1973-76 127 81
2. Jim Gonnella, Duke, 1994-97 55 90
3. Kevin Brennan, Duke, `00-'03 69 53
4. Kyle Dixon, UVa, 2003-pres. 52 55
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.
Glading is third on the team in scoring with 41 points (23g, 18a) and is tied for third in the country among freshmen. His 18 assists are tied for second among the nation’s rookies, while his 23 goals are tied for seventh.
He has scored at least twice in the last seven games and has led the team in goals in two of the last four games.
Billings erupted for a career-high five goals and two assists in the win over North Carolina and followed that with two goals and a career-high four assists against Bellarmine.
The Canadian is fifth in the nation in total points (39) by a freshman and is the third-leading rookie goal scorer with 27.
They are two of only 11 rookies in the nation with at least 10 goals and 10 assists. (Glading is one of only four rookies with 15&15).
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.
Poskay Fourth on Midfield Goals 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.
This season he is the nation’s leading midfielder scorer with 34 goals.
Poskay also owns a 20-game streak with at least one goal dating back to last season, the longest streak by a Cavalier midfielder since David Curry scored in 22 straight games in 1996-97.
One of the most prolific scoring midfielders in school history, he is fourth 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. Matt Poskay, 2003-pres. 81