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Semifinal Photo Gallery Semifinal Recap: UVa 17, SYR 10 8 Cavaliers Named All-Americans

May 28, 2006

Philadelphia, Pa. –

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NCAA Championships–Finals
#1 Virginia (1st seed) vs. #10 Massachusetts (unseeded)
May 29, 2006 • 1 pm
Lincoln Financial Field • Philadelphia, Pa.

Game Info
The Records:
Virginia: 16-0
UMass: 13-4

The Rankings: (USILA/Inside Lacrosse)
Virginia: 1/1
Umass: 10/10

The Series vs. UMass:
Overall: 7-0
Current Streak: W7

UVa in the NCAA Championships:
Appearances: 29
Years as #1 Seed: 1980, 2006
Overall Record: 36-25
Finals Record: 3-4 (.429)

Broadcast Information
Television: The semifinals are being televised by ESPN. 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.

Virginia, UMass Meet for National Championship Monday
Virginia and Massachusetts face off Monday for the NCAA national championship. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 pm and will be televised nationally by ESPN. The top-seeded Cavaliers come into the game with a perfect 16-0 record. They defeated Syracuse 17-10 in Saturday’s semifinals to advance to the title game. UMass upset second-seed Maryland 8-5 in the other semifinal contest to set up this title clash. The unseeded Minutemen have won four games in a row and are 13-4 overall this season. They are the sixth opponent in a row Virginia has faced with at least a three-game winning streak.

UVa has won nine of its last 10 NCAA Championship games dating back to the 2003 NCAA title. Virginia is 22-10 (.688) under Dom Starsia in the playoffs and 36-25 (.590) all-time.

The Cavaliers are attempting to complete the most successful season in NCAA history and become the first team to go 17-0 in a season. Cornell completed the 1976 season with a 16-0 record and an NCAA title which remains the best undefeated season in NCAA history. Duke won a record 17 games last season, but finished 17-3 overall.

The teams have three opponents in common this season–Georgetown, Maryland and Syracuse. Virginia defeated all three (including Maryland and Syracuse twice), while UMass beat Maryland (8-5) and lost to Georgetown (8-6) and Syracuse (12-7).

The Series vs. UMass
Virginia has won all seven previous meetings against UMass, including a 15-6 win in 1999 in the most recent game between the two. The teams met on an annual basis from 1993-97 but discontinued the series afterward.

Curiously, the first match-up between the two schools occurred in the quarterfinals of the 1981 NCAA Championships as the Cavaliers pulled out a 16-12 win in Charlottesville.

Virginia, the nation’s top offense with an average of 15.88 goals per game, has scored at least 10 goals in every meeting vs. the Minutemen. The Cavaliers reached a high of 20 in the 1994 contest that followed the 1993 game when they scored a series low 10 goals.

This is the third time these squads have met on a neutral field. In 1994 Virginia gained a 20-6 win at Hofstra during a spring break trip, while in 1996 the Cavaliers triumphed 15-9 at Baltimore’s Gilman School. It is interesting to note that Virginia’s two-biggest wins in the series have occurred on neutral sites.

Playing for the Sixth National Championship
Virginia is attempting to win the fourth NCAA title in school history. The Cavaliers won the tournament in 1972, 1999 and 2003. They also won USILA national championships in 1952 and 1970 in the pre-tournament era.

Overall this is Virginia’s eight appearance in the championship game and the first in three years. Only Johns Hopkins (16), Syracuse (14) and Maryland (9) have played in more title games than the Cavaliers. UVa is 3-4 all-time in title games and has won its last two appearances in 1999 and 2003.

There have been only five instances where a team won three straight finals. Johns Hopkins was the first with three consecutive titles from 1978-80. The Blue Jays did it again, albeit not in consecutive years, from 1984-85 and 1987. North Carolina won in 1981-82 and 1986. Syracuse won three title games from 1988-90, but its 1990 title was later vacated by the NCAA for a rules infraction. Princeton won a remarkable five finals (in its first five appearances) in 1994, ’94 and 1996-98.

Close Games in the Final
This is the eighth time Virginia has advanced to the final game of the NCAA Championships, including the fifth under Dom Starsia. One characteristic of these games for the Cavaliers has been how close they have been. Virginia has won its last two appearances by two goals each time (1999 vs. Syracuse 12-10; 2003 9-7 vs. Johns Hopkins). Prior to that the Cavaliers lost four overtime heartbreakers by one goal (1980 vs. Johns Hopkins, 1986 vs. North Carolina, and 1994 and ’96 to Princeton). Virginia’s first NCAA title was a 13-12 win over Johns Hopkins in 1972.

The closeness of Virginia’s title games mimics the recent history of the finals. The last five championship games going back to 2001 have been determined by just one or two goals. Syracuse’s 13-7 win over Princeton in 2000 is the most recent title game decided by more than two goals. Sixteen of the 35 championship games have been decided by one goal, while another three have been two-goal decisions.

Starsia Looks for Third Title
Head coach Dom Starsia has guided the Cavaliers to two national championships (1999, 2003). Only seven coaches have won as many as three NCAA championships. led by Princeton’s Bill Tierney with six.

Turner Comes Up Big in Tourney Play
Goalie Kip Turner was named a third-team All-American this season in recognition of his stellar play this year. His play perhaps hasn’t been better at any time this season than it has been during the NCAA Championships. He recorded 10 saves in the semis against an explosive Syracuse offense. Despite relinquishing 10 goals to the Orange, they had been averaging 12.3 goals during a nine-game winning streak. It also marked the fifth playoff game in a row he reached double figures in saves. During this year’s NCAAs he has a 53.3 save percentage and a 9.77 goals allowed average.

Ward Leads Playoff Charge
Senior attackman Matt Ward has led Virginia in goals in two of the Cavaliers’ three NCAA Championship games so far. He notched four goals (and had an assist) in the first round win over Notre Dame. In the quarterfinals against Georgetown he gave way to Ben Rubeor’s five goals, but still tallied three times and chipped in with a career-high five assists. Ward regained the leadership with four goals vs. Syracuse in Saturday’s semifinal win.

Ward is the NCAA Championships leading scorer with 11 goals and six assists. His 11 goals are 11th most in NCAA Championships history. Syracuse great Gary Gait holds the record with 15 goals in the 1990 tournament.

He has been UVa’s leading goal scorer in four of 10 playoff games in his career. He has scored 25 goals, tied for 10th in tournament history.

Ward also became the eighth player in Virginia history to tally 200 points in a career with his first quarter goal against Syracuse Saturday. He is tied with Jay Connor (1969-72) for seventh in school history with 203 career points (134g, 69a). Ward is fourth in school history with 134 goals.

Billings Joins Exclusive Rookie Club
Freshman attackman Garrett Billings knocked home three goals in Saturday’s 17-10 win over Syracuse, his first hat trick after several relatively quiet games. It was his highest output since a five-goal explosion against North Carolina five games ago. He is third among freshmen with 30 goals this season as he becomes only the fourth rookie in school history to score at least 30 goals. Joe Yevoli scored 40 goals as a freshman in 2002. Kevin Pehlke scored 34 goals in 1990 and Michael Watson had 31 in 1994.

Virginia Gains Rare Comeback Win
The Cavaliers found themselves in a relatively unusual position for them this season in the semis vs. Syracuse–having to play from behind. The Orange scored the first goal of the game 50 seconds into the contest, marking the first time Virginia had trailed in nine games. We’ll grant you that it was not as significant comeback as some as UVa roared back with six unanswered goals to take control of the contest early and post a 17-10 win. So far this season Virginia has trailed for only 50:16 out of 960 minutes this season, 5.2 percent of the time.

Quick Starts Continue
After falling behind 1-0 in the opening minute to Syracuse in Saturday’s semifinal, the Cavaliers responded with six unanswered goals and built a 6-1 lead midway through the first quarter. The Cavaliers scored two more in the quarter and went to the second quarter with an 8-2 lead. Virginia has scored 77 first quarter goals this spring, the most by any team in any quarter this season. The 77 goals are more than double Virginia’s total in the first quarter from the previous two years combined! It is also UVa’s most productive first quarter since the 1996 team scored 82 goals in the opening 15 minutes.

Virginia holds a tremendous 77-30 goal differential in the first quarter this season. These fast starts have enabled Virginia to not have to play from behind. Virginia has trailed just three minutes and 37 seconds in the last 10 games (and just 50:16 all season).

Poskay’s Streak Reaches 21 Games
Matt Poskay scored twice in the semis against Syracuse to run his streak to 21 consecutive games with a goal, the longest streak by a Cavalier middie since David Curry had a 22-game run in 1996-97. A second-team All-American, Poskay leads the nation’s midfielders with 36 goals and has tied Pete Eldredge’s 1972 school record for most goals by a middie. Poskay has scored in 31 of his last 32 games and is third among UVa midfielders all-time with 83 career goals.

Trio of Cavaliers Win National Awards
Michael Culver, Kyle Dixon and Matt Ward were named USILA Players of the Year at the annual All-America Banquet Sunday in Philadelphia. Culver was named the national Defenseman of the Year, the first Cavalier to win the award since Ryan Curtis in 1999. Dixon, the fourth midfielder in ACC history with 50 career goals and 50 career assists, is the first Cavalier since Chris Rotelli in 2003 to win the Midfielder of the Year award. Ward was named the Player of the Year, Virginia’s first since goalie Tillman Johnson three years ago.

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