Cavaliers Cross Sticks with UMBC
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VAThree hundred and sixty-four days will have passed since Virginia lost to Delaware 14-8 in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers earned the tournament’s second seed but were cut down in their attempt to return to the final four by a redhot Blue Hen squad.
The Cavaliers have earned the tournament’s second seed once again this season after compiling a 12-3 record during the regular season. The similarities to last year are not lost on the Cavaliers as they prepare for Sunday’s match-up against UMBC.
“We’ve mentioned (last year’s loss), we don’t ignore that type of stuff,” said senior attackman Ben Rubeor. “But we try and take each season and learn from it. Every game you play is your only opportunity to continue in the postseason. I think we’re going to take that lesson from last year and be prepared this year.”
The Retrievers, currently ranked seventh in the coaches’ poll, are one of the hottest teams in the nation. After starting 1-3, they have won 11 consecutive games and are 12-3 overall.
UMBC an automatic bid with a 14-13 win over Albany in the championship game of the America East Tournament. In that game they Retrievers rallied from a nine-goal deficit to win the league title.
The Retrievers’ win gained the attention of Virginia head coach Dom Starsia who has noted their balance on offense and defense in forging the 11-game winning streak.
“They’re a team that’s found a formula for winning,” Starsia said. “People have the mistaken impression that they’re going to want to slow it down in every instance but they remind me of Marylanda team that will push the break when the opportunity presents itself or play deliberately enough if they feel that that’s what they like they need to do.
“You’re impressed watching them overall with their balance at both ends of the field and their poise making plays.”
While the Cavaliers can be proud of their accomplishments to date, seasons are judged based on what happens in May.
“This is the stage we’ve been waiting for; this is where it really counts,” said Rubeor.
“This is the moment that we’ve been waiting 12 months to get back to,” Starsia added. “It doesn’t dismiss everything that happens in the regular season, certainly, but we wanted to be back in the playoffs with a chance to make another impression in the month of May and I think we’re looking forward greatly to this opportunity.”
With exams taking ending Friday, the team practiced at varying times throughout the week.
“The last couple days, even with exams, we haven’t pounded them because there’s so many things going on,” Starsia said Friday. “But there’s an alertness in practice and an attentiveness that is unique to this time of the year.”
The winner of this contest advances to face Maryland next Saturday at Navy (time TBA). Maryland defeated Denver 10-7 in first round action on Saturday.
Ticket and Parking Information
Fans may purchase tickets beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday in person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall or by calling (800) 542-8821. Tickets can also be purchased online at virginiasports.com. Reserved seat tickets offering stadium chair seating under cover are $9 each; general admission tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for youth 18-and-under, seniors 60-and-over and students of participating schools with a valid student ID. Parking is $5.