No. 1 Virginia Travels to No. 8 Cornell Saturday for Clash of Top 10 Teams
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – After defeating No. 1 Syracuse on Sunday, 11-10, the Cavaliers are this week’s consensus No. 1 team in the nation, receiving all No. 1 votes in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll and USILA coaches poll. There is no rest for Virginia (5-0) competition-wise, as the Cavaliers travel to Ithaca, N.Y., to battle the No. 8 Cornell Big Red (4-0), Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field. Faceoff is slated for noon and live stats will be available at VirginiaSports.com. UVa will look to avenge last year’s 15-6 setback to Cornell in the NCAA Tournament semifinal round at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
Virginia holds a slim 5-3 advantage in the all-time series, however the Cavaliers are 2-0 when the series is played in the regular season. The two teams met for the first time during the 1971 regular season when UVa hosted the Big Red and were victorious 10-9. UVa’s only previous trip to Ithaca, N.Y., was for the 1974 NCAA Tournament when Cornell topped the Cavaliers 15-8.
The regular season series was renewed last year when Virginia rode three goals apiece from Shamel Bratton and Steve Giannone with the Cavaliers winning 14-10 at Klöckner Stadium on March 8, 2009. Of the six other programs to win the NCAA title, Virginia has faced Cornell by far the fewest times.
Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni enters his 10th season at the helm of the Big Red and returns 15 letterwinners and four starters from last season’s squad that went 13-4, losing in the NCAA Tournament finals to Syracuse. The Big Red are led offensively by Ryan Hurley’s 13 goals (15 points) and Rob Pannell’s 10 assists (18 points). The Big Red were ranked No. 6 in both the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media and USILA coaches poll, but have fallen to No. 8 in both polls despite its perfect record. Strong starts and big wins by Maryland, Notre Dame and Princeton have catapulted those programs ahead of the Big Red in the polls.
The Big Red are most recently are coming off a convincing 19-4 victory over in-state foe Binghamton on Tuesday. Hurley tallied a game-high four goals, while Pannell chipped in three goals and three assists. Prior to Tuesday’s win, the Big Red topped a tough Army squad, 12-11, on March 6.
Virginia topped VMI, 20-6, in its first test as the nation’s No. 1 squad on Tuesday. Chris Bocklet and Matt White each tallied four goals in the contest. For the sophomore Bocklet, it matched a career high, while the freshman White set a career best for himself. Fourteen different Cavaliers scored in the contest, allowing UVa to open a season 5-0 for the third straight year.
Since the USILA started its coaches’ poll in 1973, UVa has been ranked in the Top 5 in 250 polls, including this week’s No. 1 ranking. The No. 1 ranking serves as the first time UVa has been ranked No. 1 in both polls since the week of April 20, 2009. The Cavaliers spent seven weeks last season atop both polls, and 10 weeks as the No. 1 team in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll.
Bocklet leads Virginia with 15 goals, while Steele Stanwick leads the squad with 11 assists and 21 overall points. Current ACC Co-Player of the Week Rhamel Bratton is third on the team with nine goals, while White has eight goals and 12 points, third-most on the team. White has scored a goal in all five of his collegiate games.
Ken Clausen and Chris LaPierre are tied for the team lead with 20 ground balls, while Clausen is ranked No. 3 nationally with his 16 caused turnovers. Goalie Adam Ghitelman is saving .507 percent of shots and has an 8.00 GAA.
Virginia returns to Klöckner Stadium on Tuesday for its final midweek game of the season when it hosts Vermont, who is coached by former UVa All-American defenseman Ryan Curtis, the 2000 National Defenseman of the Year. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.
Tickets for Virginia lacrosse games can be purchased online at VirginiaSports.com, by phone at (800) 542-8821 or in person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Virginia lacrosse season tickets for 2010 are $30 (adult general admission) and $20 (youth, senior, faculty/staff general admission).
Single-game tickets to lacrosse games are $7 (adult general admission), and $5 (youth, senior, faculty/staff general admission).
All reserved seats are sold out for the 2010 season.