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Virginia men’s lacrosse coach Dom Starsia announces the signing of 10 student-athletes to national letters of intent to play lacrosse at UVa beginning with the 2008-09 academic year.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that 10 talented student-athletes have returned national letters of intent and will matriculate at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2008,” said Starsia. “This is a group with striking geographic and position balance, with athleticism that addresses some very specific areas in the program. A group comprised of three attackmen, three middies, three defensemen and a goalie also includes a number of multi-sport athletes and four invitees to the US U-19 World Team tryouts. We are very proud that Steele Stanwick will represent Virginia at those World Championships. Virginia lacrosse fans will enjoy getting to know all of these newest Cavaliers,” said Starsia.

All three attackmen were invited to the US Team tryouts last July. Chris Bocklet is a high school All-American from New York state finalist John Jay High School. The 6-0, 170-pound native of South Salem, N.Y., Bocklet scored 41 goals and added 24 assists last spring. He is the starting quarterback on his school’s football team. His older brother Matt is a senior long stick midfielder at Johns Hopkins.

Matt Kugler, from Fairfax Station, Va., is currently completing a post-graduate year at Loomis Chaffee in Connecticut. He earned high school All-American honors after scoring 51 goals and adding 56 assists as his Robinson High School team won the Virginia state championship. He is on the Loomis Chaffee football team and at 6-0, 190 pounds, he could be a midfielder at UVa according to Starsia.

Steele Stanwick is one of the most decorated high school athletes in the country. In addition to representing the United States in the U-19 World Championships in British Columbia in July 2008, Stanwick was also selected as the MIAA Player of the Year and earned high school All-American accolades last season. He scored 37 goals and had 35 assists and led Loyola Blakefield to the 2007 MIAA Championship. At 6-0, 170 pounds, he also plays soccer and basketball.

Ryan Benincasa is a 6-0, 190-pound midfielder from Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Conn. Regarded as one of the top scholastic face-off men in the country, he led his team to the state finals last season. He collected 128 groundballs and won 78 percent of his faceoffs. He is also a defensive end on the top-ranked football team that is currently in the playoffs.

Brian McLinden is a 6-0, 185-pound midfielder from Madison High School in Madison, N.J. He also faces off and scored 38 goals and finished with 38 assists last spring. McLinden was selected All-Conference and honorable mention All-State in 2007 and was one of the state’s leading wide receivers until a shoulder injury ended his senior season; he is expected to make a full recovery.

Brian Pomper is completing a post-graduate year at Hotchkiss after graduating from St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington, New York in 2007. A 6-0, 180-pound midfielder, he was a first-team All-Long Island and second-team All-State as a wide receiver in 2006. He joins his brother, Max, a third-year midfielder, at UVa.

Peter Borror is a 6-0, 175-pound defenseman from the Haverford School. A native of Media, Pa., he earned high school All-American recognition last year and was invited to the US U-19 team tryouts. He also follows an older brother, Jon, a second-year defenseman at UVa.

Wyatt Melzer is a 6-1, 190-pound defenseman who attends St Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Fla. He is a fast, rangy athlete according to Starsia and was selected a high school All-American in lacrosse this past season.

Jarrid Puzes is a three-sport athlete from Stevenson High School in Buffalo Grove, Ill. He earned all-conference football honors this season. A 6-0, 190 pounder, he was named the best defenseman at Top Star camp and will play defense at UVa.

Rob Fortunato from New Jersey’s Montclair Kimberley Academy is a 6-0, 180-pound goalie. Hailing from nearby Essex Fells, he was selected first-team all-state and all-conference last season.

“Our sport is growingeight different states represented in a first-year class at Virginia,” Starsia added. “This is an exciting time for college lacrosse!”

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