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Virginia plays its first road game of the season Saturday when the Cavaliers travel to Long Island to face the Stony Brook Seawolves. Faceoff is at 1 pm.

The Cavaliers are ranked second behind Syracuse in this week’s USILA coaches poll and are off to a 2-0 start. They opened with two wins in three days, including a 10-4 win over Bryant Monday afternoon, in a game in which the team wasn’t as sharp as head coach Dom Starsia would have liked.

“I thought our kids played hard,” Starsia said after Monday’s victory. “We clearly didn’t execute, especially in the third quarter offensively the way we would have liked to, but I thought our effort was always there. I thought we were always on the loose balls and we were always hustling around. We’ve just got to be sharper.”

The Cavalier defense was particularly effective in the win and will be tested by Stony Brook on Saturday. Goalie Adam Ghitelman returns home with two impressive performances under his belt during this young season. He is relinquishing an average of just 4.88 goals per game while posting a stellar .667 save percentage. He was on top of his game against Bryant, stopping several sizzling shots by Zack Greer, the NCAA’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Greer was held in check by Ryan Nizolek, who forced the former Duke sharp shooter to miss on all five shots and turn the ball over three times. Nizolek’s shutout marked only the sixth time in his career that Greer was held without a goal.

Nizolek’s classmate, Ken Clausen, was a demon on the ground scooping up a career-high 10 ground balls to lead the team. He also caused four turnovers as the Cavalier defense gave up just four goals, its fewest in 13 games going back to last season.

Stony Brook is playing its season opener for head coach Rick Sowell. The Seawolves return six starters and 18 letterwinners from last season when they finished 7-7 overall and qualified for the America East Conference Tournament for the seventh year in a row.

At first glance it would appear Sowell has some rebuilding to do this season following the loss of 18 lettermen, including five of last season’s top-seven scorers.

Four of Stony Brook’s top-six offensive players are Canadians who have lit up the scoreboard in two preseason scrimmages.

Sophomore attackman Jordan McBride, the team’s top scorer a year ago with 44 goals, highlights the returnees on offense. He was the America East Rookie of the Year and earned All-America honors as well. He found the back of the net four times in last season’s match-up against Virginia.

Fellow sophomore Kevin Crowley also had an outstanding freshman season and finished 10th in the nation in assists (26). Crowley also brings the experience of playing for Team Canada in the 2008 U-19 World Championships where he scored 11 goals and was named to the All-World team.

Joining McBride on the attack will be sophomore Kim Belton, a British Columbia native who earned All-Star recognition last year in the Junior A league. Like Crowley, freshman middie Robbie Campbell played on the Canadian national team.

Virginia has won all five series meetings, including last season’s 15-13 donnybrook at Klckner Stadium.

The game will be a reunion of sorts for several players. Cavalier midfielder Max Pomper lists Stony Brook junior goalie Charlie Paar as one of his best friends. Paar won two state championships at Huntington HS and was a teammate of Cavalier midfielders Rhamel and Shamel Bratton.

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