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March 7, 2010
7:36 a.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The sun is out, the snow is almost gone, and the temperature is supposed to reach 60 degrees here for the first time in what seems an eternity.

It’s a glorious day for the most eagerly awaited matchup in college lacrosse: Syracuse vs. UVa.

“This game has hardly ever failed to live up to expectations,” Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia said.

“It’s so fun,” said sophomore Steele Stanwick, the only returning starter on UVa’s attack.

“You grow up always watching Syracuse and Virginia and say, ‘I want to play like those guys play.’ It’s fun, because the teams like to both get up and down and kind of play similarly. It’s almost like a track meet in the sense that the teams, they value the ball, but at the same time they want to take some chances.”

UVa (3-0) hosts the ‘Cuse (2-0) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Klôckner Stadium. The two-time defending NCAA champion Orange is ranked No. 1 nationally. The Wahoos are No. 2.

The ‘Hoos have won six of the past seven meetings in a series they lead 13-12. Each team has scored 343 goals against the other.

“We’ve beaten them the last two years, and they’ve won the national championship,” UVa midfielder Brian Carroll said, “so obviously losing this game doesn’t mean you can’t be on top at the end of the season.

“That said, I still think this game is important.”

So does Carroll’s coach.

“This is a game you use as a measuring stick for everything that you’ve been doing,” Starsia said. “This is going to be a real challenge for our young attackmen especially. They’re a little bit of a work in progress. We haven’t seen a team that’s nearly as athletic as [Syracuse].”

In 2007 and ’08, the teams’ regular-season meetings were in Baltimore. This will be Syracuse’s first game in Charlottesville since March 4, 2006.

A season ago at the Carrier Dome, the ‘Hoos edged the Orange 13-12 before nearly 17,000 fans. The crowd won’t be that big Sunday at Klôckner, but it won’t be surprising if 5,000 or 6,000 show up.

“Last year at the Dome was incredible,” Stanwick said. “I can imagine it being something similar here at Klôckner. Hopefully it’s going to be something special.”

Jeff White

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